Kituo Cha Sheria conducted a paralegal training that focused on Criminal law and procedures from the 14th to 22nd March 2016 at the Lang’ata Women Prison. This training was geared towards empowering the inmates on their fundamental legal rights and self-representation in court.
35 inmates comprising of those on long sentences, pre-trial detainees charged with capital offences as well as the condemned and 5 prison constables were effectively trained. The topics covered included Paralegalism; Introduction to Human Rights; Bill of Rights (Chapter 4 of Constitution); Criminal Procedure Code Chapter 75 Laws of Kenya (Powers of Court, Provisions relating to all Criminal investigations, Mode of taking and recording Evidence in Trials, Procedures in Trials before a Subordinate Court and High Court, Sentences and Executions and Appeals); Self representation (Criminal Approach); Power of Mercy Act; The Prisons Act and Community Service Order.
The training was conducted by Kituo Advocates and Kituo Volunteer Advocates within Nairobi. Majority of inmates at Lang’ata Women Prison are fairly very young women who are ignorant of their rights or the law and who have in extension tumbled into crime without realizing the consequences hence the need to inform them.
Kituo’s main aim of prison paralegal trainings is to decongest correctional facilities by empowering the prisoners and remandees on self-representation in court, how to adduce evidence if any, how to cross examine witnesses, how to write their submissions, how to make litigation statements, how to make interim applications such as those for bond, bail, and making applications for Community Service Order.
Giving inmates the tools to represent themselves in legal matters will increase access to justice and also empower inmates to challenge situations of injustice and abuse of certain rights inside the prison.
Bringing prison constables on board was also deemed imperative in creating awareness on inmate’s rights and their obligations to ensure the rights of the inmates are protected as well as offer oversight in ensuring that prison paralegals work with the officers and raise awareness about the activities of the paralegals in prison.
Graduation and establishment of a Justice center
After the two weeks rigorous training, on 23rd March 2016 the 35 inmates and 5 prison constables graduated and vowed to offer free legal aid to other inmates and use the acquired skills to ensure principles of justice are always adhered to. The graduation ceremony was preceded by successful establishment of Lang’ata women justice center. The eventful ceremony saw the official opening of a well equipped office space with reference books/materials, computer, printer and other stationeries. The ceremony was presided over by the Executive Director – Kituo Cha Sheria, Ms Gertrude Angote, Lang’ata women Prison officer-in-charge Ms Olivia L.A. Obel and other dignitaries.
Kituo Cha Sheria-Legal Advice Centre
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