Children in Adult Prisons
10 May 2016, 18:42
Nairobi - Officers at Thompsons Falls G. K prisons now want age assessment tests to be conducted for accused persons to avoid jailing children alongside adults.
The officers have decried the increased number of children ending up in their prisons as ‘adults’ noting that the orders for their imprisonment usually indicate that they are adults.
An officer at the women’s prison, who sought anonymity as she is not allowed to speak to the media, told News 24 this morning that most children only disclose that they are minors when they identify an officer they think is friendly.
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She cited a case in which a form three student, aged 16, ended up being locked at the prison with her younger brother, 4, after being convicted of being in possession of illicit liquor.
“The girl said her parents, who are brewers, fled when the police stormed her home in Marmanet area. The Chang’aa she admitted to have been arrested with, was meant to raise her school fees.
“She picked up her younger brother, when the police arrested her,” said the officer, noting that efforts to reverse the order hit a snull as 14 days period for appeal had elapsed and her parents did not turn up to pay Shs.30, 000 required for her release.
Nyandarua North Children Officer, Gladys Langat also noted that there was need to fast track the construction of a Child Protection Centre at the Nyahururu police station to help in sheltering the children in conflict with the law.
“Once it is noted that the accused person is a minor, it is only prudent to separate them from adults. Police cells that are now in use are not better placed to accommodate these children,” she added.
On Thursday last week, area court users committee while handling the complaint from the officers noted that there was need for the public to be sensitized on their rights and what to do in the event of arrest and subsequent arraignment in court.
A court Users Day that will allow the public to interact with the court and law enforcement agencies was proposed latter this year.
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