The use of video conferencing for incarcerated inmates has been used for inmates to attend court hearings since the Covid 19 pandemic hit the world.
But now video conferencing can be used to increase inmate-family contact and strengthen inmate connections to the outside world.
Nakuru GK Prisons has established a prisons Family Virtual Visitation Program in an effort to develop and aid in sustaining the growth of family relationships of those incarcerated.
According to Edward Kerindo, the officer in charge of Social Welfare, the program is paramount to the convicts in helping them create exit strategies.
Mr Kerindo observed that inmates have been faced with challenges when it comes to integrating with society and others would face hostility and rejection once released from jail.
“We are keen on rehabilitating convicts once they are in prison, we help them with the journey by making sure that we assist them to avoid stigmatization after completion of their term here in prison,” Kerindo said.
He added that during the visits to the home of the convict, the officers from prison, social workers, and spiritual leaders would tour the home and virtually link the prisoner with his family.
The project he says will help in bringing mental stability among the convicts who are disconnected from their families and unity families making them accepted when freed.
“In the past, we have been facing challenges when a reformed convict is released, assimilating them with the family was a challenge and we would visit the home more than once to explain that the convict had changed, but now when we start the program early it becomes easier to solve challenges that come with acceptance,” he said.
Case management program he said is where a prison officer starts a journey with a convict by helping to empower them with skills as well as planning an exit plan for the convict.
Alex Dimba, serving 30 years for the murder of his girlfriend said that the program will help him interact with his family back in Nakuru.
Dimba has been in prison for 15 years and has been able to pursue his studies on Degree in Law from a university in Landon.
“This is a good initiative in that we will be able to have an exit plan upon being released from jail, and the case manager will help in uniting us with our families, my appeal is for the government and Non Governmental Organizations to chip in support the program,” Dimba says.
Peter Rimui, 50, was convicted to serve 20 years for defiling a 15 year-old-girl eight years ago by a Nakuru court and is among the beneficiaries benefiting from the program.
Rimui said that he will be able to link with his family back home and see the changes at his home.
“It is a good program, now I will be able to interact with my family and parents without them using fare or resources. I’m changed and I regret my actions, the program has so far helped us, now I’m a First Aid helper here in prison,” Rimui said.
Abdallah Mohamed officer in Charge of the prison said that they have 665 convicted inmates within the facility with around 1,000 remandees.
“We are targeting around 400 inmates serving long-term sentences, we have trained the officers for the task under Chief Inspector Kerindo, and would monitor the inmates as they serve their sentence so that they will be able to help them in the course of the sentence and towards integration.”
He explained that the department with the support of prison commissioner John Warioba has focused on seeing prisoners live a life that is worth a purpose.
Mohamed stated that most of the inmates in the facility hail from Nakuru becoming easy for the officers to link with the families and find the root cause of the problem which lead to the committing of the offense and address the challenges in finding a solution.
As per last week on Friday, the officer said that the facility had 587 staff including civilians, which he said was sufficient for the facility, where a group of 10 inmates will be supervised by four officers.