Efforts ongoing to decongest prisons, avert welfare crisis

The Prisons Service has initiated various measures to decongest correctional facilities so as to avert a looming humanitarian crisis.

Commissioner General of Prisons Wycliffe Ogalo (pictured) says the penal institutions have more than twice their set accommodation capacity, therefore, exposing inmates to inhabitable conditions and social ills such as sodomy.

On Monday, Ogalo hosted the Power of Mercy Advisory Committee for a meeting at Magereza House in Nairobi to work on modalities of resolving the crisis.

He said the intervention measures in place include review of cases by magistrates and judges, probation of petty offenders, and liaison with the Mercy committee, which reviews deserving cases.

“We are also looking at alternative justice systems,” Ogalo said through Senior Assistant Commissioner of Prisons Dixon Mwakazi.

High bail terms, and remand without bail option have been cited as key contributors to the crisis.  Kamiti, Shimo La Tewa, and Kodiaga are the most affected prisons. Currently, there are 53,000 inmates in all penal facilities against a capacity of 28,000.  Those convicted are 31,470.

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