Organization tries to reform Kenyan prisoners (2)

17:32, July 13, 2010      

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The aim is to ensure that prisoners who complete their sentences are literate and have skills that would help them outside prison," he says.

"The exams cost about 25 U.S. dollars per candidate. Some of those who sit for the exams emerge the best in the country, with Grade I certificates," he says.

Interestingly, prisoners teach each other. "We do not have teachers in prisons, inmates teach their colleagues. There are very many educated people in Kenya's prisoners, instead of them staying idol, they teach the others," he says.

Their efforts are supported by the libraries in these prisons. "We have 35 libraries in various prisons across the country. These libraries have books, which prisoners read. They include Christian magazines, bibles, novels and inspirational books," he says.

Another important population that Linus and his team support are babies living with their mothers in prisons. "There are many children in jails. This innocent population does not understand why they are in prison. We complement what the government gives them by offering blankets, bed sheets and toiletries," he says.

The institution also trains prison warders and other officials various skills that help them perform their work well.

"We teach warders, wardresses, chaplains and instructors rehabilitation skills so that they treat inmates humanely and avoid unnecessary friction."

Ex-offenders too benefit from the organisation. They help them settle back in the society and avoid reverting to crime. The institution provides for them tool kits, sewing machines and other items depending on their areas of specialisation. "We have given out several toolkits to barbers, plumbers, carpenters, tailors, mechanics, upholsters and electricians," says the septuagenarian.

In Kenya, Linus says women ex-offenders reform and reintegrate faster in the society than their male counterparts. "When offered capital, more women open businesses than men, who sometimes sell their tools and regress to crime."

Michael Thiongo, an ex-prisoner says the institution helped him reintegrate in society after completing his jail sentence. "I was incarcerated for 10 years after being found guilty of robbery with violence. When I left jail, I went to Fr. Grol and they gave me carpentry tools, which I used to set up a workshop. I now earn an honest living," he says.

Schousten says his desire is to make Kenya's prisons genuine correctional facilities where inmates are treated humanely, live in decent conditions and they become reformed.

He believes that prisoners can contribute to a country's development by engaging in various economic activities.

Source: Xinhua
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(Editor:李牧(实习))

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