Prisons in Kenya
Prisons in Kenya: In 1911, the Kenya Prison Service was established under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Heritage and Sports. In 1917, the posts of Commissioner of Prisons and Assistant Commissioner of Prisons were created, and the control and management of prisons became the sole responsibility of the commissioner.
The 92 correctional institutions in Kenya include 89 prisons, two borstals; and one youth training centre. In 1911, 319 staff supervised 6,559 inmates.
Since 2003, when president Kibaki came to power, prisons have undergone major reforms that saw television sets, computers and educational facilities. The prison service has also cultivated a good public image. Inmates now have access to television radio broadcasts. TV sets are fitted on walls of prison halls. Prisoners spend their evenings watching news and other programmes.
Since 2003 prisons have instilled better standards for the treatment of prisoners by making them more accommodative and developing a human attitude. Major events are organized by the prison service to showcase how prisons have come-catwalks, fashion and design, exhibitions convicts sitting national exams and provision of sanitary towels dental and medical check-ups.
The department has gone a long way in changing the face of the prisons system in Kenya, which had been neglected over a long period. Sanitation has improved remarkably and the supply of water to prisons regularized. Prisoners’ diet- comprising sukuma wiki, cabbage, beans, ugali and beef improved and the rations are more and satisfying.
Prison wardens are more friendly and useful to inmates. Senior officers have been identified to listen to prisoners’ views and complaints and look into their welfare. They meet inmates and ask about their welfare and problems. They also interview ailing inmates and recommend treatment or arrange for the sick to see Government doctors.
Generally inmates are treated much more humanely than was the case years ago. Kenya Prisons have bought ambulances, water bowsers and vehicles as part of a reform programme to improve services. As a result staff and inmates’ health care will improve and boost productions, besides alleviating water shortage in prisons.
Houses for prison staff have been built to improve the living condition of warders and senior officers.
Salaries of prison staff were increased and brought in line with those of the police in 2004. More salary reviews have improved remunerations.