There is looming humanitarian crisis in the Prison Department after shocking statistics shows penal institutions have more than doubled the required accommodation capacity exposing the inmates to inhabitable conditions and social ills like sodomy.
The predicament of overstretched social amenities notably beds and toilets risk predisposing them to possible epidemic outbreaks. Currently, there are 54,000 inmates both convicted and remanded in all penal facilities against the occupational capacity of 28,000.
Yesterday, inmates at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison decried of shocking revelations of rising cases of sodomy associated to close interactions especially at night. Although Deputy Commissioner of Prisons Benjamin Njoga did not comment of the thriving social ill amongst those serving behind bars, he said the facilities are overcrowded.
“We have an average of 54,000 inmates convicted and non-convicted involving both genders. There is a bit of overcrowding since the capacity is 28,000.” Njoga said. He spoke on the sideline after officiating graduation ceremony of 94 inmates in Mind Education and Theology courses at Kamiti Maximum Prison.
Forty six of the inmates graduated in Mind Education Programme 36 drawn Kamiti and 10 others from Thika Prison respectively. The rest enrolled in theology studies sponsored by Korean Bible College. On his part, chairman of the Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security Paul Koinange steered clear of the ongoing crisis in prisons saying their role is to ensure the department has adequate financial allocation and that inmates are kept busy all the time.
“I want to restrict myself to what brought us here today. As a committee, we prisons get money and ensure inmates are kept busy all along. We have to give them hope. Even the community, we encourage them to accept those who have served their sentences back into the community as part of the reintegration process.” Koinange said.
Njoga noted that the department being responsible of rehabilitation process of individuals convicted for ills committed, it is upon them to impact knowledge and skills as part of the reform process. The two programmes were introduced two years ago. One of the Mind Education graduands, 30 years old ex-Administration Police officer Robert Resilience was convicted with murder but he appealed the ruling and acquitted one and a half years ago.
He was accused of killing a suspect in botched attempt to escape from lawful custody at Makueni AP Camp. “The suspect jumped over the cliff and witnesses said I killed him. I served for six years and I have been here at Kamiti for slightly one year. I appealed the ruling and acquitted. I am waiting to be reinstated back to the service.” Robert narrated.
By yesterday evening, Prisons Commissioner General Wycliffe Ogola was not available for comment. However, Njoka said they pursue various avenues to decongest the facilities through involvement of the respective institution involved in the criminal justice system through pardons upon recommendation by the Power of Mercy Committee.