Kituo Cha Sheria was at the Shimo La Tewa Maximum Security Prison for prison paralegals training. The training was taking place at the Women’s section which currently holds 250 women prison and 30 children. Majority of these prisoners are remandees awaiting conclusion of their cases both at trial or appeal level with most being indigent and cannot afford legal representation.
The training was conducted for five days beginning Monday 4th September 2017 to Friday 8th September 2017 and culminated in a graduation ceremony and awarding of certificates to the paralegals.
Guests who graced the occasion included Kituo Board member Dr. Linda Musumba, Kituo’s Coast Regional Coordinator Ms. Annette Mbogoh, a representative from the Mombasa Law Society and the Officer-In Charge of the Prison.
The chief guest was Ms. Stijn Janssen the first secretary in the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Nairobi.
Kituo has an established prison justice centre within the facility and has previously conducted a similar paralegal training in June 2016 where 30 paralegals were trained in the women’s prison. However, of the last batch trained only 3 prison paralegals remained hence the overwhelming need for a training of paralegals.
The prison justice centers have been a source of hope for many and it has helped even its own members to be released on appeal and Power of Mercy based on their conduct while serving sentence.
Because of this mass release and transfers, the Prison justice center had remained desolate. This gap is attributed to prison transfers, acquittals and release on power of mercy while others have served their sentence.
The prison Justice program is one of Kituo’s successes in ensuring that justice is attained to and for all and through this initiative, Kituo has established a relationship with the prison administration and the Judiciary that has borne a lot of fruits.
One of the goals of Kituo’s prison paralegal trainings remains 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 mitigation statements, how to make interim applications such as those for bond, bail and making applications for Community Service Order.The following topics covered were; Basics of 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, Appeals, Self representation (Criminal Approach), Power of Mercy Act, The Prisons Act and Community Service Order.The training was conducted by Kituo officers Valarie Ang’awa and Kibibi Chai together with Kituo Volunteer Advocates based in Mombasa.
The training culminated in a colourful graduation ceremony witnessed by representatives from partner organizations and agencies including the Kenya Prisons Service and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).
A total of 32 participants were trained, 27 of whom were inmates and 5 prison constables. The inmates comprised of those on long sentences, pre-trial detainees charged with capital offences as well as the condemned. Speakers at the ceremony urged the trained paralegals to work hard and use skills they have acquired to benefit themselves and fellow inmates.
Kituo Cha Sheria.