The Prisons department has set in motion measures to purge rogue wardens in all prisons across the country suspected to be supplying drugs and cellphones to prisoners.
The Commissioner General of Prisons (CGP), Wycliffe Ogalo said the department is taking firm action against officers who colluded with inmates to sneak in contraband goods in correctional facilities and warned that anyone caught in such vice will face the full force of the law.
Speaking at Manyani on Saturday during a tour of the maximum security prison, Ogalo disclosed that six wardens have been arraigned in court over such misconducts.
He said that he will sustain the crackdown to rid the department of rogue elements and restore professionalism in correctional facilities.
“It is a concern that we are taking very seriously. We are already doing a cleanup of such elements with six people already in court. We will not tolerate such actions,” he stated.
The issue of inmates’ accessing hard drugs while in prison has been a constant headache for prison authorities.
This has prompted an internal assessment to determine if the drugs were transported by the very officers mandated with the duty to reform the inmates.
In August, Manyani administration apprehended two wardens who attempted to sneak cocaine to the inmates.
Last week, a woman was arrested at the gate of the facility after she tried to smuggle in cocaine concealed inside a bar of soap.
Such cases have threatened to overshadow the extensive reforms the prison department had undertaken in the last several years including modernising its force and improving the welfare of the inmates through training.
Ogalo however, said the few rogue elements within the prison department will not be allowed to thrive.
The CG was accompanied by Coast Region Prisons Commander (CRPC), Henry Kisingu, the Taita-Taveta County Commissioner, Rhoda Onyancha, the Manyani Prison boss, Bison Madengwa and the Voi Deputy County Commissioner, Joseph Lewa amongst other government officials.
Ogalo further disclosed that the prison facilities were witnessing positive change due to the extensive reforms being carried out.
He pointed out that a prison decongestion program was currently underway to ease the pressure of the overcrowding in Kenyan jails.
Ogalo said his department was working with other agencies including the judiciary as part of a multi-agency approach to reduce the inmates’ population.
“The congestion is being addressed as we work with other agencies in the justice system to achieve the best results,” he said.
The CG added that all pending bills incurred by prison facilities had been forwarded to the Treasury for authentication by the pending bills committee before they were paid.
Ogalo reiterated that genuine bills will be honored but the verification process had not interrupted the supply of goods and services to the facilities.
By Wagema Mwangi/ Yassmin Zuena