- There is need to continue developing prison infrastructure to deal with the prison population which keeps surging
- Look into how to secure our prisons including designing infrastructure that would address the challenge of radicalization in prisons
Crowding in prisons and the emerging calibre of inmates especially those involved in violent extremism remain a big challenge in Kenya.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said poor quality and quantity of infrastructure is also a challenge.
He suggested that stakeholders in the criminal justice system must work together to minimise the number of offenders in jail through the use of alternative imprisonment.
“However, there is a need to continue developing prison infrastructure to deal with the prison population which keeps surging,” he said.
Matiang'i said inadequate, low quality or dilapidated infrastructure affects all areas of prison management.
This includes poor prisoners’ and staff living and working conditions, and lack of space to carry out rehabilitation programmes.
“Equally worth noting is the emerging calibre of inmates especially those involved in violent extremism, who pose a new security threat within prisons, nations, regions and even globally," he said.
“I trust that these deliberations will look into how to secure our prisons including designing infrastructure that would address the challenge of radicalisation in prisons."
He made the remarks, Tuesday, in a speech read on his behalf by his ICT CS Joe Mucheru during a workshop on prison infrastructures for English-speaking African countries in Nairobi.
This will provide a platform for an exchange of experiences, best practices and lessons learned in correctional facilities in infrastructure development and maintenance within the African region.
Also present was the PS State Department for Correctional Services Safina Kwekwe.
Matiangí urged those in attendance to be privy to the unintended impacts of new technology aimed at improving services and conditions of incarceration.
For instance, he asked, how do the stakeholders ensure that the internet which they need for conducting virtual courts is not used by inmates to engage in criminal activities while serving their sentences.
The meeting was organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
For decades, ICRC has been involved in places of detention in Africa with the sole aim of improving conditions of incarceration, through staff capacity building, infrastructure development and support for inmates’ programmes.
African Correctional Services Association (ACSA) members were present.
He reiterated the commitment of Kenya as a member of ACSA, which has always played the role of a peer review mechanism among Correctional Services in Africa.
Kenya, like many states globally, Matiang’i added, has some financial constraints.
However, in spite of this, the country continues to align correctional reforms and transformational agenda to our National Development Plans.
“As government, we remain committed to supporting our prison facilities in all areas including rehabilitation programmes, capacity building and infrastructure development," he said.
He urged ACSA members to share and benefit from each other’s experiences in the areas of infrastructure development and maintenance.
“As you deliberate, think of alternative ways of construction supported by modern technology,” he said.
(Edited by Tabnacha O)