Law students visit Nairobi Remand and Allocation prison
Freedom of mind is real freedom, one whose mind is not free, though he may not be in chains, is a slave; freedom of mind is the proof of one’s existence. Strathmore Law School students recently visited the Nairobi Remand & Allocation prison as part of their Ethics class.
Usually, Saturdays for most students are spent either attending church service, relaxing after a hectic week, lazing around or even maximizing ones talents. Not to forget, for the diligent, Saturday is also times to gain knowledge. However, August 16th, 2014 is a date that remains memorable and marks a soft spot for many. This was a first time to visit a remand allocation prison, as part of Ethics classes in 2nd yr.
The Remand & Allocation institution hold three types of individuals:-
- The Remandees
- The Juveniles
- The Capital offenders
The Law students arrived at the campus on time and assembled at the parking area (phase one) awaiting the University bus to arrive. The second year class comprises of two streams; the Attorneys & the Advocates Class, approximately 140 students. We were accompanied by Dr. Gichuru who lectures Ethics unit and her assistant Christine Wambua and the journey begun.
Upon arrival at the institution, the students were received by Inspector Mutunga and his colleague Inspector Susan and a brief on protocol to be observed was given with special emphasis on luggage, visitors card to ensure that male students would not be mistaken for inmates at the institution. All in all, the students were re-assured that in any case of an emergency, there would be officers all over the grounds.
After that, a brief tour of the Remand giving the students an opportunity to see classrooms and basketball court. Later, they were led to a courtyard where inmates were waiting to receive them, with the MC for the day Tom, ready to commence. The occasion began with an opening prayer from Madam Grace and welcoming remarks were made by Mr. Tom. Entertainment by a team of inmates called Sakata, who performed an extraordinary dance followed. Then the inmates were separated from the juveniles. This gave an opportunity for SLS students to engage the youngsters through activities such as an interactive interview sessions, painting a wall and a tour of living quarters.
Finally it was time to leave, goodbye speeches were made, and donations too; the inmates appreciated this kind gesture. The students hoped that their visit had made a positive impact on the inmates to change their lives for the better.
During this visit, law students realized that juvenile inmates are unaware of their legal rights. Most of them argued that the crimes they had committed are a means to an end, since they either came from broken families; others were orphans or were disowned by their families. Others knew not the difference between right and wrong, hence unaware of what is considered by society to be ethical or unethical. The experiences and challenges narrated by the juveniles were heart-rending since the petty crimes they admitted to, are what landed them there.
As law students we understood that our society is in dire need of pro-bono legal support. It was agreed that some time and dedication should be awarded to those who are incapable of getting legal advice. The law is a tool, that can help secure freedom or as a weapon to land someone in prison. Time should be dedicated to give the inmates role models on a personal level.
A special vote of thanks goes to the lecturers and the students, for their participation in this successful successive visit.
Written by: Olive Mumbo (LLB, 2nd Year)