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Judge dismisses petition to increase prisoners’ pay

A constitutional court in Kenya has dismissed a petition by three ex-prisoners who were seeking an increase in prisoner wages.

In the petition that was filed four years ago, the ex-prisoners argued that current prison laws deprived them of basic human dignity and subjected them to slavery.

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Prisoners in Kenya currently earn 20 cents a day, or Sh6 a month and the laws have not been revised since 1979.

According to the ex prisoners, prisoners were also not regularly provided with basic amenities like soap, toothpaste and tissue papers.

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A petitioner, Aloys Onyango, said he was never paid his wages after 16 years in prison and wanted prison authorities compelled to pay him.

Onyango was to earn Sh1,152. However, Justice Chacha Mwita dismissed the petition and stated that under the current laws, the prison payment scheme was at the discretion of the commissioner of prisons.

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He also declined to order the correctional department to provision basic amenities for prisoners.

But further stated parliament may change the law and allocate budget for the basic amenities.

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