NAIROBI: President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced Government plans to establish a new correctional facility to confine extremist offenders.
He said a separate prison for extremist offenders will deter them from spreading their venom to vulnerable Kenyans.
President Kenyatta said the Government remained committed to containing offenders in conditions that enable rehabilitation to fit into society and make a positive contribution to their motherland.
“Reforming the character of a person is extraordinarily difficult. It demands compassion, skill in discerning the character of others, and firmness,” he said.
The President pointed out that the reform of offenders requires men and women willing to combine public service with the highest standards of care for fellow Kenyans.
“I trust that you will prove to Kenyans that you have what it takes to meet those standards, both today and throughout your terms of service,” President Kenyatta said when he addressed prison warders.
The President spoke during the passing out parade for over 2300 prison warders at the Prisons Staff Training College in Ruiru, Kiambu County. It was the first Prison pass-out parade to be presided over by President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta announced the Government’s plans to tailor its budgetary allocation to the prisons service in Kenya to meet the changing operational and logistic requirements.
“We will also improve the terms and conditions of service for all Prison personnel, so that the importance of their work is properly recognised and compensated,” said the President.
The Head of State commended Prison officers for rising above the challenges they face to engage prisoners in formal education and vocational training programmes that hasten their reintegration to the community.
“Our correctional officers have not always had an easy time - conditions of service have sometimes been challenging - but you have not lost your focus,” said the President.
He called on all agencies in the criminal justice system and partners to intensify collaborations with the Kenya Prisons Service to develop common approaches to penal reform so as to attain the noble goals of character change.
“We Kenyans believe in giving our prisoners a second chance,” he said, singling out the scheme under which inmates serve their jail terms outside the walls of prison in service to the nation, as one such programme.
He encouraged corrective programmes that not only rehabilitate the inmates but also ensure certain public works do not remain undone for lack of labour.
The President commended agencies and individuals who have supported the prisons, and the rehabilitation of inmates through upgrading infrastructure and capacity building.
“Let me thank the Vice-Chancellor, Kenyatta University, Professor Olive Mugenda and the Commissioner General of Prisons Mr Isaiah Osugo, whose collaboration has brought real and tangible reform in the Prison sector,” he added.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery challenged members of the disciplined forces graduating from the training institutions to put into practice the knowledge and skills they have acquired for quality service delivery.
Mr Nkaissery, at the same time, urged Kenyans to be loyal and patriotic to their motherland.
The Prisons Commissioner General thanked the President for sponsoring the secondary education for 54 students from Borstal institutions.
Story by James Mwambai and Kobia Mwirichia