Kenya Prisons Boss Warioba Stresses Need for Inmates’ Re-Integration Programme

Nairobi — The Kenya Prisons Service has emphasised the need to provide a conducive environment for inmates to be re-integrated back into society.

Speaking during a Prisons Infrastructures workshop in Nairobi on Friday, Commissioner General John Kebaso Warioba stated that counselling should be prioritized.

He further underscored the need to have classrooms within the institutions to sensitise inmates on the re-integration process.

“We need to improve the infrastructure of prisons and have classrooms and counseling rooms to increase the level of integration of prisoners once they go back to the society,” he stated.

The workshop whose main focus was coming up with recommendations to improve the infrastructure and environment of prisons in Africa involved 13 English-speaking nations of Africa.

It was termed as very key since most of the prisons in Africa were built in the 19th and 20th centuries with a punitive focus.

The event was jointly organized by the Kenya Prisons Service (KPS) who were the host, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Africa Correctional Services Association (ACSA).

ACSA Principal Officer Francis Omade-Ado from Ghana prisons stressed the need to improve structures and conditions of imprisonment in line with the regional and international standards.

“There is a need to treat all prisoners with the respect due to their inherent dignity as human beings, proper maintenance of prison infrastructure and establishing a humane environment, strengthening ACSA and further enhancing partnership and peer-to-peer learning and stressing the challenges faced by African Correctional services such as lack of proper structures and insufficient funding,” he stated.

Omado-Ado further noted that the next step will designing prisons in a way that will cater for the safety of prisoners.

Terry Hacket, head of unit at ICRC also emphasized the challenges the prisoners face and the need to ensure they are treated humanely.

“Prisoners are vulnerable to the environment they are in. If a prisoner is in an inhumane environment, it will affect their physical and mental health as well thus limiting the impact of rehabilitation,” stated ICRC Head of Unit.

Hacket also urged on the need of keeping prisons clean and maintaining the environment even if the funds requested are not availed by the government as this is better than doing nothing.

While addressing the attendants online via zoom, AU Commissioner, Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing Maria Teresa Manuela noted that the conditions that the prisons were built in need to be improved to consider human rights.

“Even though there are prisoners who have committed serious offences, prisons in Africa are still public facilities and there is a need to ensure their maintenance and management is done just as the same case for other public facilities,” he stated.

She was positive that the issues discussed during the workshop would help improve the conditions of prisons and those who work there.

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