Uhuru urges prisons to generate own income

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday said his administration will dedicate more resources to reform Kenya’s criminal justice system to make it more effective.

He said all agencies involved in the criminal justice system require more resources because of the growing populations they have to serve and the changes in technology, which affect the nature of crimes they have to deal with.

Uhuru pledged that the government will increase resources allocated to relevant agencies. “I ask the department (s) to tap their revenue potential so that we can avoid over-reliance on the Exchequer. Our prisons ought to establish income-generating activities and programmes, not least because they will help rehabilitate prisoners once their terms are up,” he said.

Uhuru spoke when he presided over the passing out parade of 3,198 prisons officers at the Prisons Staff Training College, Ruiru. The new officers included those recruited from the National Youth Service, following the President’s directive that all security forces reserve some slots for NYS members during recruitment.

The recruits also included officers from the Makonde community, who were accorded citizenship rights last year after living in Kenya since before Independence. The Head of State said the Prisons department plays an integral role in protecting Kenyans against all sorts of crimes and it should be properly equipped for their job.

“The defence of our people from every sort of crime – and from new threats, whether they come from cyber criminals, from terrorists, or from traffickers and the like – demands well trained prison officers, as much as it does properly equipped prisons,” said the President.

He said the training of prisons officers ought to focus on fighting the growing sophistication and barbarity of criminals, without forgetting that they should strive not just to protect Kenyans from criminals but also to reform the criminals themselves.

“The services, in short, ought to balance deterrence, punishment and rehabilitation,” Uhuru said.

Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and the Commissioner General of Kenya Prisons Isaiah Osugo spoke at the function. Matiang’i said his ministry is working hard to implement the President’s directive for reforms and modernisation of the security sector.

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