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PS decries high number of petty offenders in prisons

State Department for Correctional Services Principal Secretary (PS) Mary Muthoni has decried the high numbers of young people confined in Kisii prison and called for alternative dispute resolution to decongest prisons in the country.

Addressing the press after touring the main correctional facility in Kisii town today, Ms. Muthoni said the proposal was in line with the presidential directive to look for modalities to decongest and move the facility to a more expansive and viable land in Nyanturago, Nyamache Sub County.

The PS noted that crowded and harsh environments had demeaned the mandate of the Prisons department to reform those in conflict with the law and reintegrate them back into the society.

She reiterated that the government endeavored to have one prisoner per bed and one mattress to make the facility more habitable.

The PS said her tour of the 130 prisons in the country would help understand better  the needs of prisoners and officers so that their living standards  can be improved as per  recommendations of the taskforce already  working on the matter, including police reforms too.

“These are our brothers, sisters, parents and relatives and we therefore need to treat them with dignity by improving their living conditions,” She said.

She cited Laikipia County as one of the counties where 170 offenders were released recently through Community Service Orders with the help of the Judiciary, and had already planted 100,000 tree seedlings in that area.

The PS noted that the Judiciary was leading in the alternative conflict resolution to set free the ones below age 35 who form the bulk of the population in all confinement facilities.

“Young people 35 years and below are the majority, the strongest workforce in the country who should be engaged in productive development activities,” she quipped.

PS Muthoni had earlier held a meeting with various stakeholders amongst them, Kisii Central Sub County Commissioner Mr Wilberforce Kilonzo, Police Commander Charles Kases, Kisii Prisons In-Charge Oliver Rapando and County Director of Criminal Investigations Ms Linah Kabaila.

The security team was joined by Kisii County Secretary James Ntabo, County Lands Executive Ms. Grace Nyarangi and other officers in the department.

She urged the National Government Administration officers to work closely with Prisons officers on the ground to sensitize the public through barazas on the need to resolve minor conflicts especially land matters out of court.

Last week when President William Ruto toured Kisii, Governor Simba Arati had requested that the Kisii Main GK Prison be relocated to Nyanturago to create space for expansion of the congested town.

By Jane Naitore and Jefferson Volka

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