Rid our prisons of contraband and rogue officers

Rogue officers should be taken out of the system.

Ideally, jails are correctional institutions that emphasise the denial of certain liberties and rights in an effort to reform criminals.

Until the advent of prison reforms that gave prisoners the luxury of watching television, sleeping on mattresses and engaging in sporting activities or beauty contests, prisons were designed to make individuals appreciate what some take for granted in the free world.

But as fate would have it, prisons have become the epicentre of myriad con games perpetrated through mobile phones and computers. Cybercrime appears to thrive in prison environments.

At one point or another, most mobile phone owners in Kenya have received suspect M-Pesa messages and ended up losing their savings after being duped to reveal their secret pin numbers.

So rampant has been this practice that when prison authorities organised a search at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison recently, prisoners protested the move through riots. That was a dead giveaway for if there was nothing to hide, the searches would not have elicited such violent reaction.

There is good reason to extend searches to all prisons to ensure prisoners do not enjoy the luxury of phones, computers and contraband, especially drugs and cigarettes which they trade within the cells.

Yet even as the searches go on, prison authorities must establish how such items find their way into the highly guarded maximum security facilities.

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It is inconceivable that such items can be smuggled into cells without the approval of prison officials.

Rogue officers should be taken out of the system. If that is not done, prisons will never be short of contraband goods.

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