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The amazing work of women in prisons

By Iregi Mwenja | Jun 21st 2017 | 2 min read

Through our work at the Nakuru women's prison, I have come to learn a great deal about many incredible ladies who are incarcerated there. Many uplifting stories of rehabilitation and determination to start a new life upon release that are rarely told.

Psychiatric Disability Organisation (PDO), a Nakuru based charity has been working with the management of the facility to ensure that inmates gets the much-needed psychological support.

When someone is sentenced to serve time in jail, prison authorities immediately start the process of rehabilitating the offender. Rehabilitation is a complex process that involves psychological help and training to arm the offender with skills to earn an honest living upon release.

One of the strategies to ensure people come out more prepared to face the socio-economic challenges upon release is through vocational training, coupled with psychosocial support from PDO.

Last week, I took some time to visit the prison industry and interacted with these ladies whose creativity is amazing. They produce sweaters, dolls, dresses, table mart; that will be showcased during the Nakuru Agricultural Show next month.

We encourage Kenyans to pay a visit to the facility and buy products made by the ladies to support their rehabilitation. One can also visit their stand at the showground to buy these products.

At PDO, we believe that as a society we should not stigmatize and isolate our brother and sisters who are in prison. Most of them reform and become responsible citizens - with proper support.

Supporting the reintegration of ex-offenders has many social benefits and reduces crime. Studies show that about 50% of those released return to prisons within three years.

They need a conducive environment to reintegrate back into the society as they recover from the “psychological cost” of being incarcerated.

 Iregi Mwenja- Founder/CEO of Psychiatric Disability Organization and Mental Health Advocate

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