All Kenya prisons have been equipped with closed circuit television in an effort to end trafficking in contraband, a progress report on reforms says.
The reforms, recommended by a committee last year, will also see 13,197 inmates being transferred to a community service programme if proposals by the Home Affairs ministry are adopted.
The report comes a year after a committee recommended wide ranging reforms in the Prisons Department after an unprecedented strike by prison warders.
In line with the committee’s recommendations, the ministry effected a 10 per cent pay rise and a risk allowance of Sh5,000 for the warders beginning last July, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka said on Friday.
And for the first time, each of the 50,000 inmates has a new mattress and two blankets; bucket toilets have been abolished and warders are being issued with new uniforms and boots as the ministry has procured 4,000 uniforms. Mr Musyoka said as part of the reforms, the promotion system has been streamlined to ensure fairness.
As a result, 300 non-commissioned officers, three deputy commissioners and four senior assistant commissioners have been promoted.
About 3,000 staff houses have been built against annual demand of 15,000 units and an annual budgetary allocation of Sh500 million, the VP said, adding as funding was inadequate, plans were afoot to expedite construction through public-private partnerships.
The ministry has also been putting up new buildings and refurbishing existing ones to ease congestion and improve living conditions.
As a result, Mr Musyoka said, 54 prisoners’ wards with a capacity of 3,240 inmates have been built.
A block at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison with a capacity of 300 inmates is under renovation.
To improve sanitation, an additional six boreholes have been sunk in various facilities, bringing the total to 16, says the assessment report.
During the strike, warders complained of unexplained deductions from their salaries ostensibly for the building of Magereza Academy.
On Fiday the VP said the school is being built and the first admissions are expected in January next year.