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Alarm raised over remandees crisis

By ERIC ABUGA | January 14th 2014

By ERIC ABUGA       

Kisii County: Officials at the Kisii Main Prison have expressed concern over the high number of suspects being remanded at the institution due to inability to raise bail.

The institution’s Deputy in-charge Eustace Wairagu said they have more than 1,300 suspects held at the prison, a number that is way above its capacity.

“I urge relatives and friends of the suspects to pay the bails and bonds so that we can de-congest the prison,” Wairagu said.

Judges and magistrates have also been accused of compounding the crisis by giving high bond terms.

“Bond terms were introduced to reduce congestion in the prison system and not to punish the poor,” argues Philemon Onchwang’i,  an advocate of the High Court.

 Onchwang’i further says bail should not be denied on flimsy grounds and the reasons must meet the threshold set in the Constitution.

“It is clear in Article 49(2) of the Constitution that a person shall not be remanded in custody for an offence if the offence is punishable by a fine only or by imprisonment for not more than six months,” says Onchwang’i.

Indirect costs

The congestion in some of the prisons across the country has also been exacerbated by the fact that most of the facilities were built during the colonial period and have never been upgraded.

 “When considering the cost of imprisonment, account needs to be taken not only of the actual funds spent on the upkeep of each prisoner, but also of the indirect costs, which are difficult to measure,” Cyrus Minda, a lawyer said.


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