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Ouko expose poor living conditions of Prison's staff

In Summary

• prison department currently has a paltry 3,894 permanent houses against a staff population of 23,831

• The condition has also compromised the privacy of the officers who are forced to share dingy rooms with their families.

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu joins inmates and staff at Lang'ata Women Prison in eating a cake to mark Madaraka day celebrations
Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu joins inmates and staff at Lang'ata Women Prison in eating a cake to mark Madaraka day celebrations
Image: COURTESY

An explosive Auditor General Edward Ouko has exposed how majority of Kenya Prison staff live in squalor condition which has continued to dim their performance.

This is despite a government’s own Rapid Result initiative which saw state pump Sh 1.15 billion to provide decent housing units to the officers.

The report tabled on Thursday by National Assembly majority leader Aden Duale painted a grim picture of dejected officers who are forced to share dilapidated houses not fit for human habitation.

From the shocking findings, a whopping 84 percent of the officers survive on houses that have been declared inhabitable.

Ouko said the prison department currently has a paltry 3,894 permanent houses against a staff population of 23,831.

These leaves the majority of the officers to squeeze themselves in mud walled, iron sheet and timber walled houses which lack basic amenities like water and toilets.

Ouko said the condition has also compromised the privacy of the officers who are forced to share dingy rooms with their families.

Even for the permanent houses, Ouko pointed out they are in poor conditions characterized by broken windows and doors, damaged and faded walls, rundown amenities and rusted roofs.

“The problem has been compounded by an apparent lack of prioritization o prison staff housing by the government,” read the report.

The audit observed instances of officers accommodated in single rooms with their families while other officers shared rooms. This compromised their privacy. For example, there were instances where two bedroom houses were shared among four families

The pathetic condition, the report said, has not only affected the officers’ performance but also the social life.

Section 149 (1) of the Prisons rules under section 74 of the Prisons Act compels government to provide housing to all prison officers within their respective stations.

The report further revealed that all prison stations across the country have a housing deficit of more than 50 percent.

Kilifi and Kakamega counties recorded highest deficit at 92 and 95 percent respectively.