The Government is in the process of establishing Child Care Centers in all women prisons across the country.
Speaking at the Eldoret GK Prison during a vaccination campaign monitoring, the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Ministry of Interior and National Coordination Winnie Guchu, stated that the centers are intended to provide a child-friendly environment for children born in prisons, or those that accompany their mothers to prison.
According to the CAS, such centers are already set up in some prisons in the country and a scale up to cover the whole country is in progress.
She also noted the initiative began with ensuring all women in prisons sleep on beds, citing that this was a first step in creating a conducive environment for children in prisons.
“In some women’s prisons, we have set up Child Care Centers. Our first priority was to have all women sleep on beds and in the process remove children from sleeping on the floor. We are now working on having child care centers in all our women prisons,” said Guchu.
She noted that children born in prisons or accompanying their mothers to prisons have a right to enjoy life as children. “There is need to create an environment within the prison where children can be treated as any other children,” she added.
The CAS noted that Eldoret GK Prison already has space that will be used to set up the Child Care Centre and the Ministry is now working towards getting resources to facilitate the program.
On the other hand, the Superintendent of Prisons and Officer-In-Charge of the Eldoret GK Prison, Eunice Odhiambo, echoed the need for a Child Care Center, citing high costs of maintaining children in prisons, which is not catered for and left at the discretion of the Officer-In-Charge.
“You find that the cost of maintaining children in prisons is high as they need food, clothing, at other times medication and healthcare, which is high,” she stated.
She added that her hopes are that the Child Care Center will aid in not only the costs, but also the welfare of children in prisons with adequate sleeping areas and a playground and any other special facilities, to enable the development of children.
At the Eldoret GK Prison, there are currently 16 children living with their inmate mothers.
By Laura Thuo