Nairobi — The State Department for Correctional Services has set up 20 regional centres across the country where newly sentenced inmates will be held for 21 days pending clearance for COVID-19 in measure to curb the spread of the virus in correctional facilities.
Speaking to Capital FM News on Wednesday, Correctional Services Principal Secretary Zainab Hussein said any new convict will be held at the facilities spread across the country and be quarantined for at least 21 days before being transferred to prison to integrate with the rest of the prison population.
Those who test positive will be isolated for treatment.
"Those whose results are negative are given a certificate and allowed to join the rest of convicts," she said.
There have been concerns over the safety of the country's prisons amid fears that thousands of prisoners could be exposed to the viral disease, after 31 inmates turned positive while at Nairobi's Industrial Area Remand Prison.
"The issue that happened at the Industrial Area Remand prison which is one of the regional centre's is a sign of success of the system we have put in place," she said.
In Mombasa, new inmates will only be held at either Shimo la Tewa or Manyani prisons.
In North Eastern, the designated prisons are Garissa, Wajir and Mandera.
Zainab said all the 129 prisons facilities in the country have had their populations screened for COVID-19 under targeted mass testing conducted by the Ministry of Health.
Recently, prison authorities released 11,000 petty offenders and convicts in concurrence with the National Council on Administration of Justice (NCAJ) in a bid to decongest facilities.
There are 2,093 cases of coronavirus across the country among them 33 inmates.