Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Life after conviction: Should ex-prisoners be allowed to integrate in the society.

An inmate at the Athi River prison shows the French Ambassador Elisabeth Barbier what he learnt during a computer training 
 Luck of loan to start small scale business from skills learnt at the prisons and criminal records are the main hindrance for ex-convicts trying to integrate back to society.

This emerged during an open day at Migori district probation office attended by about 30 ex-convicts, parents and administrators working with the ex-convicts.

Citing referees with a criminal became the major challenge. Isaac Oriema, 24, who has been in probation for a year for possession of Marijuana said once the police had your finger prints most employers will luck trust in you.

Mr. Oriema is now a kale farmer. He urged the government to curb drug trafficking due to the district proximity to the Tanzanian border.

“Most youths abuse drugs for luck of knowledge of consequences against the law” observed Oriema.

Mr. Ombogo Osoro, 48 years, who was charged with felony is calling for the labor ministry and probation office to act as referees.

During the function officer in charge of Migori prisons Mr. Peter Kabande observed that probation help decongest prisons and aid petty offenders serve their sentences outside.

“I urge the public to welcome the ex-convicts on probation back” said Kabande “I applauded parents here today for accepting the children back”

Ex-convicts from approved schools, prisons and probation hostels participate in community development. The skills learnt are forestation by planting seedlings, Juakali artisans making energy saving jikos in conjunction with Forestry and Energy ministries respectively.

Currently there are over 100 prisoners on probation in three South Nyanza districts; Kuria, Migori and Rongo.
“ex-convicts who have successfully finished probation should be embraced by the public because their criminal sentences have been served erasing them from police records” said the area probation officer William Otieno.

(26th February 2009. This article was written during Volunteer Internship at Kenya News Agency.)

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