EX-OFFENDER REHABILITATION AND REINTEGRATION PROJECT (ERRP)

The Ex-Offenders Rehabilitation and Reintegration Project (ERRP) is a project currently in two correctional facilities namely Nyeri and Nanyuki prisons. It aims at helping the Ex-offenders regain their social and economic standing in the society upon their release. This is done through the involvement of the victim, the offender and the community in restorative justice approaches.

Project Goal
Promotion of restorative justice mechanisms to the victims and the ex-offenders for effective reintegration.

Objectives

  • To enhance social reintegration of the ex-offenders and monitoring of their progress.
  • To enhance economic re-integration of the ex-offenders by December 2015.
  • To facilitate an effective sustainability/exit strategy for 55 beneficiaries under the programme by June 2015.

Target Beneficiaries
Ex-offenders drawn from Nyeri and Nanyuki Prison recommended through the Prison Discharge Boards.

Focus Area
Nyeri and Nanyuki Prisons.

  1. Organizing monitoring visits/meetings to the existing beneficiaries for progress review and sustainability.
  2. Conducting home/Prison visits and advisory follow-ups per ex-offender yearly.
  3. Organizing quarterly ex-offender steering committee meetings.
  4. Conducting trainings for State officers in the rehabilitation and after care sector.
  5. Organizing and facilitate 20 ex-offender’s self-help support group formation and entrepreneurial training.
  6. Harnessing the collective energies in the groups derived from the networking meetings.
  7. Supporting financially select beneficiaries in income generating activities and sustainability.
  8. Tapping and utilizing the institutional capacity of the Probation Officers in mentorship and after care.
  1. Trainings on economic empowerment and use of restorative justice mechanisms.
  2. Enrollment of the ex-offenders to the Economic Empowerment programme to promote a savings culture.
  3. Networking and collaboration meetings.
  4. Mentorship and aftercare programmes by the Probation and Prison departments.
  5. Sensitization meetings to the community on ex-offender management
  1. The programme has so far in its final year of operation identified 60 beneficiaries and 60 character mentors. Currently, it has trained 73 members composed of both the ex-offenders and their mentors.  From this number, 55 members are active members.
  2. Reduction of stigma to community members which has culminated to impressive acceptance levels to the ex-offenders.
  3. Increased participation to the family and community members in advocating and promoting restorative justice mechanisms.
  4. Ex-offenders who are economically empowered to contribute to national growth. Some of our beneficiaries who are in profitable income generating activities support  their families.
  5. Some of the beneficiaries have also benefited from networking and collaboration by different stakeholders that lend their efforts to ex-offender management.
  1. Challenges in realizing the number of beneficiaries as projected. We had anticipated reaching of 32 beneficiaries annually. This was premised on the assumption that prison releases were regular and the ex-prisoners would automatically be considered for the programme.
  2. Ineffective welcoming meetings. This component was aimed at having a personalised handing over of the beneficiaries to the family and the community upon their release. This did not work well.
  3. There was an assumption formed that the ex-offenders to benefit from the programme will be evenly distributed within the 8 deaneries of the Archdiocese of Nyeri. Through experience, we have established that this was not realistic to get beneficiaries spread in the 8 deaneries.
  4. The position of the victim in reintegration was not clearly laid out. During the implementation we realised that without engaging the victims there is no effective reconciliation. There will be pronounced engagement with the victims in the new wave of implementation.
  5. Some of the beneficiaries developed dependency syndrome especially to the cash incentive by the programme. There should be put some pre-conditions to the beneficiaries to access that kitty. Some members also refused to make additional deposits to their start-up incentive by Caritas thus becoming ‘dormant’ accounts.

 

SUCCESS STORIES

  1. Charity Mumbi

    Charity Mumbi Kamana is aged 35 years old. She was accused of the offence of conspiracy to steal and was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment. She hails from Gaaki Location, Tetu division in Nyeri County. Prior to her conviction, Charity, a mother of two, was a casual labourer at a construction company in Nyeri. She is separated from her husband and now lives at her mother’s home with her two sons.

    Charity’s misfortunes began when she refused sexual advances from her employer which made her working environment hostile. She maintains that she was framed on the charges leveled against her. She feels that she suffered unjustly hence denying her children good parenting.

    Her mother, Jane Nyambura, 65, is a peasant farmer. She was so emotionally affected by her daughter’s imprisonment. During that time she has dutifully struggled to educate her grandsons. One of the sons has completed secondary education and is casually employed. The other will be joining high school next year.

    One of the positives that she carries with her from prison is that through her imprisonment she has learnt a lot of skills. She has learnt skills in mat making and poultry keeping. She admits that life behind bars is not easy but adds that she does not hold any bitterness to what she felt was unjustified confinement.

    Charity was identified as an ERRP beneficiary. Her progress and character in the Women prison facility has been impressive. She was trained on the 29th June -1st July 2014 on the following areas:

    • Change management dynamics and advocacy.
    • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) approaches in conflict solving.
    • Restorative Justice
    • Entrepreneurship/savings and financial management.

    Upon training, she was elected as a secretary to GREAT HOPE Self Help Group in Caritas-Nyeri. This group is made of 13 trained ex-offenders. This group is an addition to the other groups namely; Voice of Hope, Movers, and Jubilant. Through this group, she will be able to benefit from a loan after saving for at least 6 (six) months. The group members will also be guarantors to loans taken.

    Already, she is almost to complete a structure where she intends to keep chicken which will give her additional income to help see her son through secondary school.

    Charity appreciates the ERRP programme for identifying her and she promises to be a better person. The community members appreciates her presence. She asserts that she is ready to forgive the people who led to her imprisonment.

  2. Susan Wangui

    Susan Wangui Wanjiku is 22 years old. She is an orphan. Her only sister Miriam is married and resides in Ol kalou in Nyandarua County. She has lived a life of struggle since she was young. After her primary school she joined Karemenu Secondary School through the benevolence of Daughters of the Sacred Heart. She later dropped out in Form 3 due to lack of school fees.

    After dropping out of school she was employed in Nairutia as a bar attendant. During this period she befriended and later got pregnant to one of the proprietors of the club. This realization was hard to take for her. She was later to learn that this man was married and with children. She later got arrested on charges of stealing by servant at her place of work. She was imprisoned for 18 months. This move as she maintains, was instigated by the father of her child to avoid further suspicions to their relationship and pregnancy. She was convicted and imprisoned for one and half (1½ ) years.

    In November 2013, she delivered a baby boy Fortune while in prison. She admits it was one of the hardest times as she did not have anything to provide her child. The Chief Chaplain Fr. J.B Ndungu and well wishers from Caritas- Nyeri mobilised clothes for her and the baby. The father to her kid only visited her once in prison but was unable to say anything. Later she would refuse to pick calls by Susan. Due to her delicate situation, Susan had been assigned light roles of a nanny to the other prisoner’s children as they worked. She did not learn a skill while there.

    The programme assessed the environment she was to join in Nairutia where she had lived. It established that there was a lot of bad blood especially after the wife of her former employer knew of their relationship with Susan and the attendant pregnancy. Her only sister could not be able to host her as she is burdened with her children. The steering committee advised that she needed to be placed where she would easily restart her life with her son.

    The programme together with the prison Chaplaincy identified a neutral place that she could re-establish herself from. A few items like clothes, kitchen appliances, food items and a room were provided to the beneficiary in Chaka area in Nanyuki.

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