Directorate of Prisons Health Services

In accordance with the provisions under sec. 29 (1 – 4), of the Prisons Act (Cap 90), Part III of the Prison Rules 1977 Revised, Kenya Prisons Policy Document, 2005 and beyond, the International Instruments (SMR) for the treatment of offenders of 1955, the Prisons Service is mandated to establish Healthcare system which shall ensure that the prisons community, particularly the prisoners have access to the highest attainable standards of healthcare services, in keeping with the general acceptable community practices. These services shall include; medical, dental and mental health services. Taking cognizance of the significance of health in prisons, it is imperative that the Prisons Department establishes the Directorate of Prisons Health Services. The head of the section seconded from the Ministry of health and appointed by the Director of Medical Health Services, shall perform the following duties and responsibilities:

• Responsible to the Commissioner of Prisons for all issues with regard to Health of prison and neighborhood communities and liaises with the Director of Medical Services for continued provision of adequate health supplies to all the prison Hospitals, Health centers, Dispensaries and infirmaries;

• Establish a functioning Directorate of Health Services with the necessary structures created beginning Headquarters and cascading down to the provincial commands and the stations. The structuring shall include all Maximum Security Prisons and Principle Prisons which shall be headed by Medical Officers, whilst Medium and District Prisons shall have clinical officers heading health facilities, but with the provision for making referrals of cases which require further management to the main Prison Hospitals or Public Hospitals whichever is convenient and according to the local needs and the nature of the sickness;

• Responsible to the Commissioner of Prisons for the health of all prisoners in prison custody and shall cause them to be medically examined at such times as shall be prescribed. In addition he shall take or direct to be taken such action as he would consider necessary to safeguard or restore the good health of prisoners or any other member of the prison community and shall do all within his power to prevent the spread of disease(s) within the prisons community, and that all such actions shall be deemed lawful.

• Advise the Commissioner of Prisons on the Health condition of prisoners, staff and families and the neighboring community;

• Carry out needs assessment on staffing requirements for the Prisons Health facilities and equipment, ensuring that adequate medical staffing levels are established and deployment of the same carried out in all the facilities countrywide. In consultation with the Commissioner of Prisons, he shall cause to recruit for employment and training of the, medical staff for the Prisons Service;

• Establish such units as shall be deemed necessary; Public Health, Pharmacy and Laboratory, to help in facilitating the provision of appropriate healthcare services to members of the prisons and neighborhood communities, and that prompt action is taken to remedy through effective control the threat of any or outbreak of communicable diseases within the prison community, as well as to act within the law to avert any imminent health crisis within the prison settings or within the neighboring communities, which may have direct or indirect impact on the prisons;

• Mount a campaign to create awareness amongst staff of the Prisons Service on the need to sanitize their working and living environments in order to keep hygiene standards high at all times, as well as to develop approaches which promote preventive healthcare programmes;

• Carry out Health Education to promote Healthy lifestyle within the prisons environments as well as to provide counseling services to staff and prisoners;

• Establish health information system as well as monitor disease prevalence, morbidity and mortality trends in the prisons community;

• Advise on and adopt multi-sectoral approaches in the management of HIV/AIDS prevalence within the prison community taking into consideration the needs of the infected and affected as well as arranging for the infected to access ARVs and the necessary food requirements. This should include other special groups such as the children, antenatal and pre-natal groups; and

• Receive and analyze returns on health issues from the prisons facilities as well as to conduct research on health to inform the Departmental Policy development on the most appropriate policy avenues for Prisons Health Services.