Prison officers ask for more powers for the Commissioner General, salaries doubled

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The basic salary and house allowance of Kenya Prisons Service should be increased by 150 percent and 200 percent respectively, Kenya Prisons Service has said. If implemented, a Prisons Constable’s salary will increase from Sh20,740 to 51,850 and the house allowance from Sh9,500 to Sh28,500.

The Service in its presentation to the Justice David Maraga-led National Taskforce on the improvement of terms and conditions of police and prison officers also noted that the risk allowance should be increased by 150 percent. It has not been reviewed since its introduction in 2008.

Additionally, KPS has noted that it has no gender policy. This has led to skewed recruitment and deployment. Out of the 31,333 uniformed personnel in its ranks, 24,062 are male while only 7,271 are female.

In a memorandum to the task force, the service recommended that the mandate of KPS should be revised to enable them to be accommodated on the multi-agency approach to national security. Currently, KPS is only limited to guarding inmates within its prisons and whenever their officers are called upon to beef national security they work under commanders from the National Police Service.

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“The Commissioner General of Prisons to be incorporated as a member in the National Security Advisory Committee,” they have recommended adding that it should be made a constitutional office and the holder of the position to serve for a five-year non-renewable term. At the moment, the CGP serves at the pleasure of the president.

The service has also asked for the Commissioner General to be appointed the chief accounting officer for effective and efficient management of finances and also to address operational challenges within the Service. Additionally, they want the Public Service Commission to establish an internal board to promote officers from the rank of constable to Assistant Commissioner General.

KPS has also asked for the introduction of a special allowance to officers serving in Maximum Security Prisons holding high-risk offenders at 25 percent of their basic salary. These include officers working in prisons holding Violent Extremist Offenders (VEOs), cybercriminals, and terrorists. Additionally, leave allowance should be paid at the rate of one month’s basic salary while the hardship allowance should be at the rate of 30 percent of the monthly basic salary.

The service has also noted that it is greatly underfunded. In the financial year 2022/2023 the service was allocated Sh29.73 billion against a requirement of Sh48.37 billion, representing a deficit of Sh18.22 billion.

Regarding the welfare of inmates, the service has recommended that they should be provided with uniforms befitting the prevailing climatic conditions.

The Maraga led task force began receiving views from members of the public on Monday.

“We will hear submissions from the police and prisons services and other State agencies in camera. Subsequent meetings across the country will however be open,” Justice Maraga said.

The 20-member task force which was formed by President William Ruto to provide recommendations on how to improve the welfare of police and prison officers will divide itself into several teams and tour all 47 counties from February 6 to 17.


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