State bans visits to prisons

Thursday, March 19th, 2020 16:33 | By
Interior CS Fred Matiang’i during the launch of the new generation passports recently. PD/TABITHA MBATIA
Interior CS Fred Matiang’i during the launch of the new generation passports recently. PD/TABITHA MBATIA

The Ministry of Interior on Thursday suspended all visits to prison lines, borstal institutions and youth corrective training centres across the country for the next 30 days.

This, they said, is part of the ministry’s contingent measures that have been put in place to protect those in custody.

There are approximately 54,000 inmates and hundreds of pre-trial remandees in all 107 correctional facilities.

“No visitors will be allowed at any of their 107 correctional facilities as a precautionary measure to minimize face-to-face contact and interaction with the civilian population,” Zeinab Hussein, Principal Secretary for State Department for Correctional Services.

Ms. Hussein added: “This injunction has also been extended to the prison staff.”

However, she said the ministry will be progressively reviewing the risk mitigation strategy to effectively keep any possible outbreak at bay.

Besides regular screening, Ms Hussein said, the prisons department has set up enough hand washing points at all facilities.

“To ensure uninterrupted supply of soaps, detergents and sanitizers, the Athi River GK Prison has scaled up the producing of these items to meet the increasing demand within the prison industry,” she noted.

In order to mitigate a possible outbreak and control the spread of the deadly virus, the Principal Secretary (PS) advised that the inmates will remain accommodated in their respective blocks, wards and cells as per the current registers without any unnecessary movement.

So far, she revealed, the prisons department has also dispatched a team of health specialists to all the regions to join the county disease surveillance teams in the management of our infirmaries, which now have isolation units in every region.

“In the meantime, our health facilities will be closed to and will solely serve the prison population,” she held.

With regard to food supply, the PS announced that prisons’ food production which has quadrupled since 2018, has been reinforced for self-sufficiency.

“As such, we don’t foresee any shortages,” she noted.

As for the supply for other necessary commodities, she noted that the government had instituted strict protocols, including but not limited to thorough disinfection of vehicles and high hygiene standards that must be adhered to by all suppliers.

Meanwhile, the PS had directed all the Regional Prisons Commanders to conduct daily inspection of all correctional facilities and routinely report on their preparedness to the headquarters.

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