President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday presided over the passing out parade of 3,198 prisons officers at the Prisons Staff Training College, Ruiru.
The President said his Administration will dedicate more resources to reform Kenya’s criminal justice system to make it more effective.
The President 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 technologies that also affect the nature of crimes they have to deal with.
While pledging that the Government will increase resources allocated to relevant agencies, the President said institutions like the Kenya Prisons are allowed and should engage in income generating activities.
“I ask the department to tap their revenue potential, so that we can avoid over-reliance on the exchequer. Our prisons ought to establish income generating activities and programs, not least because they will help rehabilitate prisoners once their terms are up,” said the President.
The new officers included those recruited from the National Youth Service, following President Kenyatta’s directive that all security forces should reserve some slots for the NYS youth during each recruitment exercise.
The recruits also included officers from the Makonde community, who were accorded citizenship rights last year by President Kenyatta, even though they have lived in Kenya since before independence.
The Head of State said the Prisons department plays an integral role in the protection of Kenyans against all sorts of crimes and they 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 pointed out that 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,” the President emphasised.
He said he was pleased that the Prisons department has embraced reforms and has already included new ways of fighting crime in training recruits.
President Kenyatta also announced that the Government is currently processing 8,000 prisoners for alternative correctional programmes outside prisons as part of plans to decongest the facilities.
He observed that investing more in the prisons and other security agencies will make Kenya more secure and attract investments that will support the achievement of the Big Four plan which include manufacturing, universal healthcare, affordable housing, and food security.
During the ceremony, President Kenyatta awarded prizes to recruits who emerged the best in various categories like marksmanship, sports and academics among other fields.
Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and the Commissioner General of Kenya Prisons Isaiah Osugo also attended the ceremony.