PRISON VISITS

Prison visits to resume as vaccinations near completion - CAS Guchu

Target to reach 100 per cent vaccination by end of today,

In Summary

• Prisons have been closed to visitors since the first day Covid-19 was announced in the country.

•"Inmates have not seen relatives and families at all causing distress and some instability inside prisons," CAS Guchu said.

Prison visits are set to resume following the completion of vaccination of warders and prisoners.

The government banned prison visits during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, Interior CAS Winnie Guchu said up to 90 per cent of prisoners have been vaccinated and 80 per cent of warders have received jabs.

“We want to ensure that up to 100 per cent of prisoners and warders are vaccinated by close of business on Friday. County governments have been very supportive by sending staff members to do the vaccinations,” she said at the Kisii Main Prison.

She was accompanied by Prisons Commissioner general Wycliffe Ogalo.

They were on a national monitoring drive for Covid-19 vaccinations among inmates, prison officers and their families.

“We started the exercise on Tuesday to see where we have issues and sort them so that we are able to reach 100 per cent by the close of business on Friday,” said Guchu.

The mass vaccination in prisons was launched by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and his Health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe.

“The prisons have been closed to visitors since the first day Covid-19 was announced in the country. Inmates have not seen relatives and families at all causing distress and some instability inside prisons," Guchu said.

"There is more peace in prisons when inmates are able to see and communicate with their families."

Guchu said that after consultations with the Ministry of Health, it was resolved that all inmates and prisons staff members must be vaccinated for visitations to be allowed.

“The other thing we are looking at as we are going around is to see the spaces used for visitations because we must maintain social distancing and sanitation facilities in our facilities. We are looking at the possibilities in all the prisons where visitation will be done because the prisons are not the same,” she said.

She said after the monitoring tour, they will come up with different visitation frameworks.

“Hopefully, in most prisons, we have enough space so we have to look at the security of inmates and visitors when they come to visit even though they visit in the open air, there is ample security and there is no risk for either the inmates or family members,” she concluded.