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Thursday, 18 November 2010

In Kenyan prisons, instead of condoms, surveillance cameras

Three surveillance cameras on the corner of a ...Image via Wikipedia
Source: Daily Nation

By Mathias Ringa

Surveillance cameras will soon be installed in prisons as a way of ensuring that inmates do not engage in homosexuality.

It was difficult for prison officers to establish if some inmates indulge in the illegal act, said the Commissioner of Prisons, Mr Isaiah Osugo.

“We don’t know what happens in the prison dormitories when the inmates retire to bed. We just receive claims that some inmates engage in homosexuality,” he explained.

“In order to avoid speculation on the matter, we shall instal closed-circuit television cameras in all dormitories so that we can catch the culprits,” he said.

Mr Osugo said although the Prisons Department had been under pressure from the civil society to allow the use of condoms in prisons to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids, the diseases prevention kits would not be introduced.

Prisons, he said, were rehabilitation centres where inmates undergo corrective measures and as such did not warrant the introduction of condoms.

He was talking to journalists at Mombasa Beach Hotel on the sidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs senior staff retreat on the new Constitution.

Mr Osugo said prisoners would also not be accorded conjugal rights as it was not enshrined in the new Constitution. Sex was not a basic right for prisoners, he said.

“According to the law, prisoners cannot be accorded conjugal rights. We cannot enforce a non-existent law.”

Prisoners serving long sentences at Shimo la Tewa Prison have been agitating for their conjugal rights. Some claim to have lost their wives due to sexual starvation.

Home Affairs assistant minister Beatrice Kones said senior officials from the ministry and the department would go through various provisions to ensure compliance with the new Constitution.

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