On Thursday, 29th June, 2017 Kituo cha Sheria joined the Kisumu Maximum Prison- Kodiaga Prison Justice Center to commemorate the Access to Justice Day. The Day was not only a celebration but also meant to empower the prisoners to enable them access justice with emphasis on fundamental human rights, legal representation and the judicial procedures.
To celebrate the achievements of Kituo’s paralegals and the prison justice centre; members of the prison community were led by prison paralegals in tree planting, song, dance and poetry.
The central activity taking place during the day was a moot court skit meant to aid the prisoners in learning about bail and bond, community service order, legal representation and the judicial procedures.
In attendance at the celebrations were Kituo Cha Sheria’s board members Dr. Linda Musumba the Executive Director Kituo Cha Sheria Ms. Gertrude Angote, program manager Faith Ochieng and Samantha Oswago. Nyando community justice centre paralegals Frank Opande and Judith Ochanda also joined the celebration. Others present were: Officer-in-Charge (OIC), Kisumu Maximum Prison, Mr. Martin Akwanyi, the Deputy OIC Mr. Philemon Too and the Kodiaga prison human rights officer, Mr. John Ikwenyi.
The special day was set aside for prison facilities to sensitize them on the need to ensure that Justice is not only accessible to the prisoners but that it is also realized at the Prisons. This is why also in attendance were various stakeholders in the justice system in Kisumu including Hon. Joane N. Wambilyanga, the Court of Appeal Registrar-Kisumu; Ms Amelia Otono from the Office of the Obudsman in Kisumu and Mr. Jacob Opinya from the Probation Office Kisumu Central.
The guests came to interact with inmates as well as to listen to the challenges they come across while lodging appeals against their cases. The Kodiaga prison justice center together with other prison centers have contributed to the decongestion of prisons and at the same time made justice accessible to those who could not afford the services of an advocate.
Giving the keynote address Ms. Angote expressed Kituo’s satisfaction in seeing prisoners being able to self-represent and having access to justice within the prison-“the palace of correction”.
“Over 10,000 people have been released on appeal directly from the work of prison paralegals countrywide, you just need to know the facts of your case and prepare thoroughly”, she said.
She closed the day’s events expressing Kituo’s gratitude to the Royal Dutch Embassy for their support and passing greeting from Kituo’s board of directors and the entire Kituo family. Kituo finally supported the centre with administrative materials including stationery.