Communities still reluctant to accept ex-inmates

Shimo La Tewa Maximum Prison in Mombasa County./COURTESY

The community is still reluctant to accept back people who have been released from prison.

Speaking in Mombasa at Shimo La Tewa Women’s Prison, Zedekiah Adika from Kituo cha Sheria said people leaving prisons still had challenges when it came to settling back into the community.

“We have one who was released and found his land had been grabbed, and his parents had already died and no one wanted to help him. Such things can make someone commit a crime to go back to prison because it feels more like home,” said Adika.

Speaking during the ’16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ celebration, Adika also said there was no allocation by the government to help people who are exiting prison.

Adika who is the Programs Officer at Kituo Cha Sheria said they had been training inmates as paralegals because most of them could not afford lawyers.

“In the process of training them, they are helping other inmates. They have assisted many inmates, in the last three years they have assisted more than 200 people,” said Adika.

Adika said they had trained 180 paralegals who have helped at least 297 people at the Shimo La Tewa maximum prison. 113 were released through appeals and 75 had their sentences reviewed.

At the Shimo La Tewa Women’s prison, 376 have been assisted. Five have been released, 19 plea bargains, and others assisted through legal aid.

“I must commend what is happening. When we started the women’s side had around 200 people, as we speak, the population here is 66 people,” said Adika.

“This shows that the number of people being locked up has reduced and that is what we want as a community,” he added.