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AUDIT REPORT

Prison housing crisis: 20,000 new units needed

Except for lacking bars, some warders' houses are not much better than the prisons themselves

In Summary

• 3,894 permanent houses, against a staff population of 23, 831

• Indecent housing of prison staff has not only affected officers’ social life but also work performance in general  — Auditor General

Senior officers visiting prison housing units in Eldoret on March 4th 2018
PRISONS Senior officers visiting prison housing units in Eldoret on March 4th 2018
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

Auditor General Edward Ouko has painted a grim picture of staff housing at prisons where some warders live in filthy dilapidated mud and rusting mabati huts. 'Sanitation' is primitive to nonexistent.

e says the Prisons department needs at least 20,000 new housing units.

"The indecent housing of prison staff has not only affected officers’ social life but also work performance in general," the report says.

 

Ouko in a special audit on prison staff housing cites a total of 3,894 permanent houses, against a staff population of 23, 831.

“As a result of the housing deficit, the majority of officers were accommodated in temporary structures, including mud houses, A-frames and pre-independence. In some cases staff live in open halls, the auditors said.

Water supply is uneven and toilets and latrines are in bad shape, or they are not usable.

Ouko said officers often must share housing. He said at eight out of the 17 stations visited by auditors had officers living outside prison lines. All stations had uncontrolled house extensions.

Lack of proper housing also affects officers' family life as most said they don't live with their families on prison grounds due to lack of decent accommodation.

Some who lived with their families make do with single rooms. 

Apart from Kisumu station, which had a deficit of 31 per cent, all the other stations visited had a housing deficit of more than 50 per cent. Stations such as Kakamega, Kaloleni, Kilifi, Murang’a, Ruiru and Shimo la Tewa Women had housing deficits of between 82 to 95 per cent.

“Although staff numbers have increased over time, the Kenya Prisons Service has not constructed houses at the same pace.

Prisons staff population increased by 34 per cent from 17, 777 to 23,831 But housing units increased marginally by six per cent from 3,660 to 3,894 during the period of 2000 to 2018,” Ouko's team said.

Aged and dilapidated mud houses being used to accommodate staff in Eldoret and Kakamega stations. Most of the houses have no water and other necessities.

He says the prisons service is expected to provide adequate housing units to accommodate its entire staff within the prison lines in accordance with Section 149(1) of Prison Rules under Section 74 of the Prison Act Cap 90.

(Edited by V. Graham)