On the 19th of May, Jackson Otingehwiny was released after serving an eight year prison sentence. During his time in Luzira Maximum Prison, Uganda, he was determined to develop himself through education; enabling a positive transformation during his prison experience.
We have a responsibility to support and develop changemakers just like Jackson, and to give them the platform they need to share, inspire and motivate others. As part of our Justice Changemaker Training we offer a formalised sponsorship programme enabling prisoners and prison staff to study Law with the University of London’s (UoL) distance learning programme. Through this, we can support the many prisoners that are denied a fair trial simply because issues of poverty prevent them from accessing legal support. At present, we have 63 prisoners and prison staff studying law with APP's support under the University of London International Programmes.
Currently, Jackson is enrolled with the UoL LLB undergraduate degree programme. With high hopes to complete his LLB course in the next few years, Jackson hope to equip himself with the education to train as a lawyer and work to improve prisoner rights.
We spoke briefly with Jackson on the day of his release, read the interview below.
How do you feel today?
"I am confused. I am slowly gaining a sense of normality. I am happy to have got my freedom back."
How did you Cope with prison life for eight years?
"I always kept myself busy; I was involved in education. I spent my time educating myself, and in doing so, I did not feel imprisoned. I felt like I was in a place where I could study and develop myself. APP was a fundamental component of this. Other than this, I also engaged in sports activities. For me, being behind bars was eight years of personal development."
Now that you are A free man, what Do you hope to do in regards to your education?
"I hope that APP will continue to support me to complete my studies and realise my potential. I would like to achieve the most in my academic career."
What are your immediate plans?
"I would like to see my family and their advice will guide me on what to do today."
How was your first meal?
"I am a free man. I can eat what I want. I can access a phone. The ambience/atmosphere is different."
What message do you have for your fellow inmates?
"Being in prison is not the end of your life, keep enduring and you will gain your freedom. Today I have gained mine, and tomorrow it will be you. Keep your mind busy."
What have you learnt during the past eight years?
"I would rather be a poor man living in a free environment, than be in prison. I have learnt that crime does not pay. I have learnt that I am able to acquire anything through hard work and dedication. I have learnt to be disciplined and patient. Yet most importantly, I have learnt to be humble."
Fast forward to five years from now, where would you like to be?
"In five years time, I would have a family and I would be legally qualified and working on prisoners’ rights."