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VAS

Naivasha Prison has no equal, makes all equal


By | August 16th 2010

By ANTONY GITONGA

Naivasha GK Maximum Security Prison is considered the largest penal institution in East and Central Africa.

As the name suggests, this is one of the most secure prisons in the country. It holds 2,800 inmates, a majority of them hardcore criminals.

Two thirds of the inmates are on life imprisonment while others are serving long sentences for capital offences. Remand suspects are also held there.

In the 1980s, the prison had a tough reputation as a weapon of State repression. Torture was the order of the day.

An emotional relative hugs an inmate at Naivasha G.K prison which for the first time in its history opened its doors in what was dubbed as prisoners-family day.

But the installation of Narc Government in 2002 changed all that, at least temporarily.

The prisons were opened to the public, and the conditions improved considerably. Key improvements included the establishment of an educational centre that has attracted over 1,500 inmates keen on improving their lot.

Despite lack of teachers, learning materials and congestion, the prison has reported fairly good grades in national exams.

In the 2008, inmate Justin Tony Mabuka scored an impressive A-(minus) in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination. Mabuka, who was serving seven years for theft, was set free and is now a student in a local university.

Another inmate, 32-year-old Peter Kamau Ndung’u, who is serving a life sentence, made history this year as the first inmate to qualify as a certified public accountant (CPA).

But it has not been smooth sailing all through. In early 2009, tens of mobile phone sets were recovered from the inmates at the prison, most of whom confessed using them to con and blackmail members of the public.

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