Prisoners at the Narok GK Prison got a rare chance to show-case their talents in a program meant to improve the psycho-social well-being of the staff and inmates.
The over 600 inmates together with the prison staff displayed their talents including dancing, sporting activities, fine arts, modelling, singing, spoken words among others.
The officer in charge of the prison, Benson Lomeri, said the program that began in the year 2020, has helped the prisoners to discover their talents as a number of them have recorded their own music.
In each section, he said, there are staff deployed to train them to perfect their talents, while urging the community to accept the prisoners when they come back to the community.
“We have five prisoners who have previously been released from custody and have now become renowned artists in the society because of their extraordinary performances. They perfected their skills while serving in prison,” said Lomeri.
He said the program has built a brotherhood relationship between the inmates and the prison wardens hence helped to reduce stress in the rehabilitation center.
An officer from the Rift Valley Regional Headquarters, Denis Ochama, said the program was started in the year 2020 after the onset of Covid-19, when movement in the country was restricted to keep the prisoners busy.
“Initially, the prisoners would have a chance to work in industries and workshops where they boosted their talents. But after Covid-19 came, their movement was restricted and the only way to keep them busy is by having such talent building shows,” he said.
Ochama said the talented inmates who produce songs are facilitated to record their music in nearby recording studios, which are uploaded on YouTube to enable the inmates earn some money while in prison.
He said in the Rift Valley region, the program was launched in Narok and will be extended to other prisons in different counties.
Stephen Spenser Otieno, who served in the prison for three years after he was found guilty of forgery, said he perfected his singing talent while in prison.
Though it was difficult to be accepted back in the society, Otieno said his singing talent has made him shine as his music became popular in the country.
Sharon Sang, who got into prison after she was found guilty of committing FGM in the year 2020, said she has learnt bead making, hair making and dancing while in prison.
She hopes to be an anti- FGM crusader when she gets out of prison as she has since learnt that the vice is both illegal and outdated.
By Ann Salaton