Soldiers jailed at military prisons will not be flogged or subjected to physical punishment following enactment of new rules that also allow them temporary release for marriage or birth of their children.
Through the Kenya Defence Forces (Imprisonment Regulations) 2017, prisoners at military barracks will not be subjected to corporal punishment.
“Corporal punishment shall not be inflicted on prisoners,” the new law, promulgated by Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo through gazette notice 236 dated July 17, 2017, says.
Kenya Defence Forces prisoners have also won the right for temporary release under special circumstances such as death or dangerous illness of a near relative, birth of a child, to marry a woman who is expecting his child or birth in the case of a female officer or service member.
“The commanding officer of a person serving sentence of imprisonment may authorise the temporary release…where there are domestic difficulties concerning the prisoner or his family and the commanding officer is satisfied that the personal attendance of the prisoner is desirable,” the law states.
The rules, however, allow use of force against a prisoner resisting lawful order. The confinement of sentenced soldiers will henceforth be solitary or at least three prisoners in a room.
“No room shall be used as, or as part of, a service prison unless a medical officer has certified that its size, lighting, heating, ventilation and fittings are adequate for health, and that it allows any prisoner therein to communicate at any time with a member of the staff,” the rules says.
The rules say that the size of rooms intended for occupation by prisoners shall be at least 600 cubic feet.
Jailed soldiers will be engaged in work or training for not more than nine or less than six hours a day excluding times of meals.
“A prisoner shall have only one day of rest in a week in accordance with his or her faith and on this day, no prisoner shall be engaged on work or training except work which is necessary for the cleaning of the service prison,” the regulations, tabled in Parliament by Leader of Majority Aden Duale state.
The jailed soldiers will also have the right to legal representation during the court martial trials and doctors’ service.
The prisoners have also won the right to receive visits from his or her relatives and friends but with the consent of the officer in charge of the service prison who will also determine times and places for such visits.
“Any visit authorised under this regulation shall be within the sight and hearing of a member of the staff not below the rank of sergeant.”