By DAVID ODONGO
Twelve per cent of the Lang’ata Women’s Prisons population are children below four years, the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) heard.
Deputy Commissioner of Prisons Rose Muturi said this during TJRC hearings on prisons and detention centres that "most of the women who are sentenced come in pregnant or with very young children. We allow them to keep the children until they reach four years". She was representing the Commissioner of Prisons Isaiah Osugo at the TJRC hearings.
Muturi added that once the child reaches four years, he or she is released to the inmates’ family or given into custody of a welfare officer in a children’s home. Out of the 3,000 female inmates, 360 have children.
"But it is not all gloom. Through partnership with non-governmental organisations, we are building a day care centre at the prison to help make the children’s lives better," she said. Earlier, Home Affairs PS Ludeki Chweya explained to the commissioners, challenges of the penal system.
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"When I was appointed PS in April 2009, the warders were on a strike, but it had nothing to do with me," he said, eliciting laughter from the commissioners and the public.
He said he set up a commission that was chaired by Major Retired Marsden Madoka to look into the challenges.
"The Madoka commission came up with five areas that needed urgent attention. Of the five, we have successfully implemented four, and we are slowly getting into the biggest one, which was housing," said Chweya.
The PS regretted that the force had 18,000 officers, but only 5,000 benefit from housing.
"We receive Sh500 million from the Treasury yearly. The amount is modest, but in time, we will soon sort out the housing problem," Chweya said.