Inmates demand conjugal rights, balanced diet and right to bury kin
Inmates at the largest correctional facility in the coast region are demanding for conjugal rights.
The prisoners from Shimo la Tewa Maximum Prison in Mombasa also want to be given time to go and bury their kin whenever death strikes.
They asked the Senate Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights to see that convicted prisoners are escorted to mourn with loved ones.
The senate committee members led by the Chairman Samson Cherargei are visiting correctional facilities across the country to assess the prisons.
“You are also human like us, visitation is a right and you should exercise conjugal rights, even Former Vice President Moody Awori attested to it, who are we to deny it. It is something that is everywhere, people should be allowed to exercise their conjugal rights even the Bible and the Quran says we should give birth to fill the earth so prisoners’ rights must be respected,” Senator Cherargei said.
On Saturday, the senators will visit GK prison in Kilifi County and GK Medium Prison in Kwale County.
Mr Cherargei agreed that a balanced diet was key for everyone and said that they administration should request some money for fruits for the prisoners once in a while.
“The diet issue and visitation is a right the administration can manage,” he said.
He commended the convicts for the boldness in expressing themselves without fear of victimization.
The senators heard that the convicted prisoners need the government to take care of their families as they serve their sentences. The Committee chairman noted that conjugal right is biblical and they deserve it.
While representing the recommendations to the Committee, Convicted Prisoners’ Welfare Representative Mr Jimmy Obwollah asked for prisoners to have representations in all Assemblies to ensure that their issues can be well addressed including the right to vote, calling for the amendment of the Election Act.
TERMS OF POLICY
Among other concerns, the convicts want their welfare to be looked into in terms of policy and in law.
“We would really appreciate if the government would increase the funding for prisons to cater for items like bedding, eating utensils for prisoners, availability of fresh water, personal items including soap, tissue papers, toothpaste for us as many are not visited and are serving long sentences,” Mr Obwollah told the Committee.
The Senators also heard that the prisoners lack protective gear at the workshops and have requested that the Prison Administration to consider it.
They also called for a review and change in the earning scheme for prisoners working at the correction facilities countrywide.
Mr Obwollah said that for over 14 years that he has served, the remuneration a prisoner gets is meager and not commensurate to the prices on the products made.
The inmates requested to get better health care at the institution and better diet.