On Tuesday, 14th November, 2017 Kituo cha Sheria commemorated the Access to Justice Day at the Kakamega Main Prison in Kakamega County.
The day was celebrated to acknowledge the contributions of the prison paralegals as they play a big role in educating inmates about their legal rights to appeal for justice. There were many activities organized by the prison inmates to celebrate the achievements of Kituo’s paralegals at the prison justice centre. The day started-off with prayers followed by a colorful entertainment program of song, dance and poetry. Participants were entertained by the inmate’s Crime Si Poa group as well as the Kakamega men’s and women’s prison choirs.
The centerpiece event was an enthralling moot court skit/ debate session presented by the male prison paralegals which showcased their learning and understanding of bail and bond, community service order, legal representation and other judicial procedures.
Guests present included the Kakamega Senior Resident Magistrate Erick Malesi, Office of the Director of Public Prosecution’s Mr. Jeremiah Maroro and Volunteer Advocates Mildred Akinyi (Deputy President, Law Society of Kenya-Kakamega) and Ms. Susy Rauto. Others present were Pamela Masistsa, a community human rights volunteer with AVP Trust and the Butali Court CUC as well as the OCPD Kakamega Central Mr. Joseph Chebii.
Officers from the Probation Service Office in Kakamega Judith Mandillah, Lilian Angima and Judith Epereje were also present to grace the occasion. Kituo Cha Sheria was represented by the AGCP programme manager Faith Ochieng’ and officers Martha Ogutu, Sylvia Wetta and Imoli Shivega.
The day’s host-Senior Assistant Commissioner of Prisons Mr. Emaase Nicholas; the officer in charge of Kakamega prison and Regional Prisons Commander for the Western Region welcomed visitors to the facility. The 400 capacity prison facility is currently at 1,200 occupancy and the officer-in-charge expressed gratitude to Kituo for setting up the prison justice centre by training 23 prison inmates and officer in October, 2016 to assist with reforms and decongestion. About 1,600 cases have been handled by the justice centre paralegals within the past year with many successes.
The Kakamega prison justice center together with other prison centers around the country have contributed in a big way to the decongestion of prisons and at the same time made justice accessible to those who could not afford the services of an advocate.
Addressing participants, various speakers appreciated the work done by the prison paralegals and expressed their willingness to support inmates to self-represent and access justice within the prison.
Kituo Cha Sheria remains a constant friend of the poor and the marginalized helping them to access free legal aid to ultimately achieve justice.