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Society urged to accept, accommodate ex-offenders

Kenyans have been urged to be accommodative by accepting convicts who have served their terms back to society after their release from prison.

The stakeholders in correctional facilities noted that some of the ex-convicts ended up going back to prison after being released owing to discrimination and stigmatisation by society.

Principal Secretary of Correctional Services, Ms. Salome Biacco, while speaking in Nanyuki GK Prison in Laikipia County during her familiarisation tour, said that the prison department was implementing programmes aimed at making offenders productive members of society once they were freed from jail.

Principal Secretary Correctional Services Ms Salome Biacco groundbreaking a resource center at the Nanyuki GK prison on Wednesday, October 4, 2023. The facility was funded by Faraja Foundation in honour of Fr. Peter Hildebrand, a Catholic priest. It will host a barber shop, a computer, a library, a carpentry and a counseling center. Photo by Muturi Mwangi

“Let us help prisoners so that after they are released, they don’t get rearrested, and this is what the correctional department is trying to do. Accept them back in your society,” said the PS.

She noted that the correctional facilities equipped the prisoners with artisan and entrepreneurial skills and called on Kenyans to support them by purchasing their items.

“We encourage you to come and buy the merchandise made by those behind bars. Part of that income is channelled to train them to ensure that after they have been released from jails, they can earn a living,” said Ms. Biacco.

She further called on more partners to join hands and support the correctional facilities in the country through counselling and rehabilitation.

“If you’re a counselling expert, talk to us; come and help inmates change their behaviours for a better country. Let’s partner and support our people,” the PS appealed.

During her visit, Ms. Biacco commissioned the construction of a resource centre donated by the Faraja Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that aims to empower inmates through counselling and entrepreneurial skills.

Brigadier (Rtd.) John Kibaso Warioba lauded the Faraja Foundation for their continued support over the years for Kenyan prisons.

He noted that the resource centre would host barber shop, computer centre, library, carpentry, and counseling chamber, all fully equipped by the Faraja Foundation.

“I am informed that the resource centre has been conceptualised for a salon, barbershop, computer, library, and carpentry section prior to handing over to Kenya Prison Service,” said Brigadier Warioba.

Brigadier Warioba revealed that the resource centre was a major boost to correctional services’ mandate of economic and social reintegration of offenders back into society.

He further said that the resource centre was donated in honour of Fr. Peter Hildebrand, a Catholic priest.
Faraja Foundation Chairperson Dr. David Bett said on his part that they took artisan skills seriously since they could improve the lives of inmates after they had secured their freedom subject to good behaviours.
Dr. Bett called on correctional facilities to revive the hobbies and crafts schemes of inmates to ensure they benefit from their skills and, at the same time, support their families financially.
The Faraja Foundation noted that the resource centre would be completed within a period of two months and a half at a cost of Sh5 million.

The inmates at the Nanyuki GK prison also benefited from other merchandise, including blankets.

By Muturi Mwangi

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