Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has asked the Prisons Department to use facilities of the penal institutions in the country to promote agriculture, industrialization and contribute to the realization of the food security agenda.
The Deputy President said the department has potential of becoming self-sustaining in food supply and profitable because prisons have large tracts of land.
“Operationalize the prisons industry and work with private people in marketing the furniture products. The prison industry can be profitable. Create a revolving fund and make prisons self sustainable. There is no reason why they should not produce enough food for inmates instead of buying the foodstuffs and selling the surplus. Penal institutions have huge tracts of land,” he said.
The Deputy President spoke on Wednesday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) Nairobi after launching the Correctional Services Week.
He was accompanied by the Principal Secretary for the State Department of Correctional Services Salome Muhia-Beacco, Commissioner-General for Prisons Brigadier (Rtd) John Kibaso Warioba, Nandi senator Samson Cherargei, among others.
While praising the department for transforming lives of offenders, rehabilitating and reintegrating them in the society, the Deputy President asked the prison officers to also participate in the Greening Kenya Initiative whose aim is planting 15 billion trees by 2032.
“Our responsibility extends beyond the rehabilitation of individuals to the protection of our environment. The focus areas include the Greening Kenya initiative, establishing nurseries in various correctional stations and fostering innovation in regenerative enterprises. By integrating environmental consciousness into our practices, we are ensuring a sustainable legacy for future generations,” he said.
At the event, the Deputy President heard success stories of Correctional Services from ex-prisoners Dr Justin Mabuka, a veterinary doctor, and Edwin Nyaga, a fourth year Civil Engineering student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
The pair narrated how the Prison’s probation department enabled them to pursue their studies while in jail.
Mr Gachagua further added that effective community safety is a collaborative effort that involves both state and non-state actors.
The Deputy President further added that soon he will initiate debate with independent constitutional commissions and Parliament on issuance of Certificate of Good Conduct to ex-convicts.
He noted that former inmates have been facing difficulties in acquiring Certificate of Good Conduct that may enable them to get employment.