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Give former inmates ‘second chance’, Society urged

The society is being encouraged to facilitate the reintegration of persons who have been released after serving time in correctional institutions.

Busia Women Prison Superintendent Patricia Makali Simiyu noted that this was necessary to ensure the successful re-entry of ex-offenders into society and that they do not revert to the deviant behaviour which landed them behind bars in the first place.

Members of the public share a dancing session with the inmates from Korinda Women Prison. Photo by Yvonne Chebet

“It’s my personal and special appeal to the wider public. Let us consider them and give them another chance in the society as having been rehabilitated, trained and are now knowledgeable, allow them to get the jobs that they seek,” she said.

Speaking during a beauty contest organized at the facility by Silver Shield organization and Busia models among other organizations to boost the morale as well as providing counselling services to the inmates, the Prisons’ Department aims at ensuring that ex-offenders are reformed and equipped to become productive members of society once they are released.

Freedom is the greatest blessing that any human could enjoy while he or she is still alive. This is true of Busia prison women inmates who received a surprise visit by a delegation of women leaders from various organizations.

“On this memorable day of the girl (Mrs Busia Second Chance), we are glad to support the women with personal effects like bathing soaps, pads, beauty products and foodstuff, ” said Phoebe Wesonga, a proprietor of beauty products from Bungoma.

Wesonga asserted that the inmates deserve to be treated with dignity despite the fact that they are in prison. She added that this would go a long way to boost their self-esteem and confidence, when they complete their terms and integrate them back into society.

“Allow the process to work, have faith that our Kenyan brothers and sisters who have served time are repentant and rehabilitated. Allow them to get employment to earn a living for themselves and their children, and make a valuable contribution to nation building,” stressed Wesonga.

Her sentiments were echoed by Silver Julie Malako, a representative of Silver Shield organization, who affirmed her organization’s commitment to ensuring that female inmates restore their lost glory and integrity.

“We are dedicated to accord an opportunity to these women to reclaim their social standing so that they can be fruitful when they return to the society,” said Malako.

Julie added that besides provision of basic commodities, her organization is also involved in health advocacy on various issues including teenage pregnancies and mental health disorders.

“Currently, we are in contact with 10 clubs in various primary and secondary schools that benefit from this programme, besides other youth empowerment initiatives,” added Malako.

Majority of the Busia women prison inmates are petty offenders, who when given chance and proper mentoring could become productive members of the society.

Mrs. Second Chance initiative is a partnership between the State Department of internal security and various organizations to rehabilitate inmates and turn around their lives for the better, upon completion of their jail term.

By Joshua Opili and Yvonne Chebet

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