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Kenya Prisons helping inmates to exploit talents

Kenya Prisons Service has joined hands with other stakeholders in helping inmates exploit and nurture their talents as they serve their sentences.

Speaking at Meru Prison during the opening of a newly renovated kitchen, Eastern region Prison Commissioner Mr Dixon Mwakazi said they have decided to give prisoners enough space to sharpen their skills which will help them after they finish serving their sentences.

Eastern Region commissioner of prisons Dixon Mwakazi while touring Meru Prisons during the opening of a renovated kitchen. Photos by Dickson Mwiti

“We want to give them time even to study what they didn’t do out there. We have those who have artistic skills and we want them to sharpen them so they can join others out there and at least earn a living from this,” said Mr Mwakazi.

He said allowing the inmates to engage in such activities will help in keeping them away from the criminal activities they were engaged in before they were imprisoned.

“The inmates have a lot of time to do this including at night and we are encouraging and helping them to use this opportunity in the best way possible,” said Mr Mwakazi.

He said they had also, sourced mentors who will help the inmates in identifying and nurturing their talents. Rehabilitation and Welfare Director at Kenya prisons Mr Mary Khaemba said the department has come up with various programmes that will eliminate idleness from prisoners as well as helping them in realizing their talents.

“We want to give inmates enough time to entertain themselves and, in this way, they will be able to realize what they can do better rather than engaging in criminal activities,” said Ms Khaemba.

Officer in charge of Meru prisons Mr Saitoti joins inmates in a jig. Photo by Dickson Mwiti

He encouraged officers in charge of various prisons to come up with wellness programmes that will go hand in hand in reforming their inmates.

“We want the inmates in our prisons to get back to the society as reformed people who can integrate well with people without being seen as criminals anymore,” she said.

Mr David Bett, the chairperson of Faraja Foundation that helped in the renovation of the kitchen said they were also working together with the prison services to rehabilitate and reintegrate the inmates and the society once they are released.

“We are doing the best to ensure the released prisoners are well received by the society so they cannot get back to their bad ways,” said Mr Bett.

He added: “Sometimes society is not ready to receive these people after serving their sentences and we usually conduct pre-release activities including talking to those who were offended.”

By Dickson Mwiti

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