• Convicts OF serious offences like defilement have been allowed to go home after being rejected by prison.
• A prison source confirmed that small prisons no longer took in prisoners due to Covid-19.
Police in Kyuso, Kitui county are stuck with prisoners who have been rejected by Waita prison in the wake of Covid-19.
“A number of times we have taken remandees and convicts to the prison and have been forced to return with them as the prison authorities declined to receive them citing Covid-19,” Kyuso subcounty police commander Charles Machinji said.
Machinji said convicts sentenced to jail at the Kyuso law courts for serious offences like defilement and remandees have had to be taken back to court where their terms are reviewed.
“We have had defilers and other convicts who had been sent to jail allowed to go home after the prison failed to take them in. Remandees facing serious offences have also been allowed to go home after the prison turned them away,” Machinji said.
The subcounty police chief who spoke to the Star said policing was being made difficult as they were left to feed and take care of prisoners who otherwise should be in prison.
“The worst part is that if would-be criminals realise that they will not be held in jail after committing serious offences due to Covid-19, then there is the danger of them engaging in crime with impunity,” Machinji said.
A prison source in Kitui confirmed on Tuesday that small correctional facilities like Waita and Mutomo prisons were no longer allowed to take in convicts or remandees in order to curtail the spread of Covid-19.
“But the Kitui prison that has also been designated as a quarantine centre is taking in all persons who are either jailed or remanded for serious offences. Operations are normal at the Kitui prison, which is taking in prisoners who could have been held at Waita or Mutomo prisons,” the source said.
The source who did not wish to be named as he was not allowed to speak to the media said Kitui prison was not only accepting prisoners from other facilities in Kitui but also from neighbouring Makueni county.
“What I am telling you, in a nutshell, is that there is no crisis as such. But there is an understanding that petty offenders serve extramural penal employment at government offices instead of crowding prisons,” the prison source said.
Edited by Henry Makori