Looking into the Life of a Prisoner: An Enriching Student Experience
“The day started off well, as we gathered where the bus was located, thrilled and highly expectant to embark on our journey. We were going for a trip to Naivasha Maximum Prison. It was a grand opportunity for a getaway weekend to an unfamiliar place with friends. Upon arrival, the Prison’s Welfare officer gave us a comprehensive orientation of the prison and after thorough frisking, we were then allowed in. Our team was taken around the prison grounds and shown the various facilities within the place.
The prison is divided into various enclaves, with prisoners living in the innermost enclave. Other facilities in the prison included boarding facilities, kitchen and the school buildings.
The school building housed the primary and high school classes, separated by iron sheets. The building also had a library, a small garden for the agriculture students – who kept rabbits, a computer lab and an art room. We also saw some of the artwork made by the students that were amazing. It was important to note that everyone in the school from the Principal to the teachers, and the board of governance team comprised of prisoners.
After our tour of the school, we assembled at the library where we interacted with some of the staff members. This was a good moment because each staff member narrated to us their daily struggles in incarceration and their hope for the future. Some of the teachers, we learnt, were awarded scholarships to study law through an online platform provided by the University of London. Other teachers were studying CPAs sponsored by Strathmore University.
The prisoners narrated a bit about their past crimes. One strong message ringed all through; anyone can be incarcerated.
After our exchange, we left the facilities at about 2:00 pm. The experience of looking into the life of a prisoner and the drive that motivates them to live day after day was enlightening. Life suddenly seemed more valuable and worth living.
This experience can be summarised by the phrase, the audacity of hope. Give a man hope, and you have given him life. This was the challenge thrown to us; to be ambassadors of hope.”
Article by Gavin Bett – Class representative, Financial Economics