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Uninhabitable places prison warders, officers call home

By STANDARD TEAM | Updated Mon, July 6th 2015 at 00:00 GMT +3
A single house partitioned with carton boxes, polythene paper bags, sheets and manila papers to accommodate  prison officers at Nakuru GK prison. (Photo:Kipsang Joseph/Standard)

Thousands of prison warders and officers still live in deplorable conditions.

At Nakuru GK Prison, warders live in houses that are often affected by floods. And with the roofs leaking, the officers are at risk of contracting pneumonia.

There are a total of 548 prison officers attached to the facility, of which 278 are housed in deplorable temporary structures with 270 having rented outside the work station, which affects effective service delivery.

The officers do not enjoy privacy as the houses are divided with carton boxes, polythene paper bags, sheets and manila papers.

Emmanuel Maneno, a prison officer at the Coast, told The Standard that since he was recruited five years ago, he has never enjoyed life at the facility.

Mr Maneno said the houses are so cold and can contribute to spread of diseases, but the matter is yet to be addressed.

"I was so excited getting into the service five years ago, I knew I was going to enjoy life, but look, this is my small house, without any privacy. I cannot enjoy music or watch movies because I must consider the interests of the other officers," he said.

Cannot date

He continued: "I want to live a decent life but how? It's also shameful bringing friends in such a house where they can't enjoy a calm environment because everything they do will be known by other officers. I can't also date a woman."

There are fears that recruits currently undergoing training might lack accommodation at the facility. In the last recruitment in 2010, the facility received 60 recruits. He said the number might increase.

Of the 450 prison staff in Kakamega GK Prison, 350 live in dusty officers' quarters.

The prison's compound is filled with tin-roofed shacks, crumbling iron sheet structures, broken-down mud houses and a sizeable section of permanent structures with drainage trenches of smelly water cutting across.

The remaining 100 stay in the nearby Amalemba estate on rented premises. The poor state of the inmates at Shimo La Tewa is matched by the sorry state of prison guards' living quarters.

-Reporting by Benard Sanga, Renson Mnyamwezi, Robert Amalemba, Mercy Kahenda and Nyambega Gisesa