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Thika prison plans to decongest inmates following cholera outbreak

The government has begun efforts to shift inmates from Thika prison to the nearby Yatta, Ruiru and Murang’a prisons in order to decongest the Thika prison.

This comes after concerns of a cholera outbreak that hit the facility in which 38 inmates contracted the disease in the past one week.

Correctional Services Principal Secretary Mary Muthoni said the facility that has a capacity of 500 is now holding over 1,200 inmates, making it difficult to contain such an ailment on time.

Speaking after touring the facility to assess the cholera status yesterday, the PS said the decongestion programme would have the numbers reduced considerably to ensure the inmates live decently.

She said they are also working with neighbouring courts of Kandara, Thika and Ruiru to reduce the number of inmates being admitted at the Thika prison.

She said offenders who have been sentenced will be spread across the neighbouring prisons to ease congestion in Thika prison.

While noting that they have managed to contain the virus, the PS said it would have been easier had the facility been not crowded.

“We have managed to contain the disease. From the over 38 inmates who contracted the virus over the past one week, only seven are still sick. The remaining 30 are stable. However, one is critical and is hospitalized,” she said.

She also instructed the prison management to ensure new prisoners are screened for the disease before they are allowed at the facility.

This is after revelations that the disease got into the facility from new offenders who had been sentenced at the Ruiru and Kandara courts.

“Going forward, we want to ensure that before new prisoners are admitted at the facility, they get tested for cholera. That way, we will end new infections,” she said.

She at the same time said they are working on drilling boreholes and procuring new bowsers to ensure the facility has flowing water even during rationing.

“We also ask the prison management to ensure a high level of hygiene and water flow at the facility. They should also liaise with the local water distributing company Thiwasco to ensure they don’t ration the commodity,” she said.

By Muoki Charles

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