The officer in charge of the Malindi Maximum Prison, Mr. Khamis Bakari, has appealed to the Kilifi county government to urgently rehabilitate the road leading to the correctional facility from Malindi town.
Mr. Bakari said that the earth road was in a bad condition hence slowing transportation of remand prisoners to and from the Malindi Law courts, which are about eight kilometres from the institution.
Mr. Bakari, who is an assistant commissioner of prisons, said the poor state of the road could easily make prisoners to escape while being transported to the courts for mentions and hearing of their cases.
“The poor condition of the road is dangerous since some of the inmates we transport daily are hardcore prisoners who could take advantage of the slow speed of the vehicles to escape while being transported to the courts,” he told journalists at the prison on Wednesday.
He said the sole lorry used to transport prisoners to and from the prison as well as the Malindi Sub County Hospital was getting frequent mechanical breakdowns since it has to be driven at high speeds despite the numerous potholes on the road.
“This has raised the maintenance costs of the vehicle during a time when the government has also instituted austerity measures due to budgetary deficits,” he said.
Khamis appealed for an additional vehicle to ferry the prisoners adding that the lorry was being overworked since it covers a minimum of 60 kilometers on rough road daily.
He also called for the expansion of the holding cells, especially those for condemned prisoners and those serving life sentences, to increase capacity.
“The prison has a holding capacity of 700 inmates, and we are forced to transfer excess ones to other prisons in the region. This can be resolved if more facilities are provided,” he said.
Khamis assured members of the public that prisoners going through the institution were receiving proper rehabilitation and urged them to accept them back when they are released after completing their sentences.
On the menace of online fraud said to be emanating from prisons, Khamis said his officers were keen to ensure that no prisoner keeps a mobile phone in the facility.
“I can confidently assure the public that no prisoner has a mobile phone within the facility,” he said.
By Tomas Mbaya and Emmanuel Masha