Inmates across the country will have to wait longer to have visitors until the government fully ascertains that their visitation facilities are ready and safe.
Addressing the press at the Garissa Main Prison, today, Interior Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Winnie Guchu, said the government could not risk the current Covid-19 situation in the country, by opening the prisons to visitors without proper precautionary measures.
“Until we are certain that all our prisons have facilities that are safe, then shall we announce the opening of prison cells to visitors. It will be the prerogative of the Ministry of Health to give us the final guidelines and authorization for visitations,” Guchu said.
Guchu said that the government through the Ministries of Interior and Health, is targeting to vaccinate all prisoners and staff across the country, by the end of this week.
According to the CAS, so far, 70 percent of inmates countrywide have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while the remaining 30 percent have received their second jab.
“We are here to ascertain that the inmates, staff members and their families are all vaccinated by the end of this week. We are targeting to have 100,000 people vaccinated, during this exercise,” the CAS said.
“We want a 100 percent vaccination among our inmates, so that we can be able to open up the prisons. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the inmates have not seen their family members,” she added.
The CAS noted that in far-flung areas of the County, the government would use the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine and Astra-Zeneca in easily accessed areas.
The 100 per cent vaccination of inmates and the prisons’ staff, will lay the ground for the resumption of family visitation for inmates in the country’s 133 correctional facilities that were suspended when Coronavirus pandemic broke out.
The CAS was accompanied by Commissioner General of Prisons, Wycliffe Ogallo, and Ministry of Health officials. They will also tour prisons in Wajir and Mandera, to assess the status of the prisons in regards to Covid-19 safety measures and vaccination.
By Erick Kyalo