APP provides secondment opportunities for senior prison officers from East Africa to the UK. On the 11th of February, we welcomed Betty Chepkosgei and Isaac Bwire Naderiia who have both departed Kenya to embark on their 3 month Justice Changemaker Journey.
Imprisonment comes at the end of a long chain of decisions that involve legislators, policymakers, the police, prosecutors and courts. The justice system, therefore, has to be seen as a whole. That’s why we create opportunities for officials to visit prisons and see first-hand the transformation that is possible behind bars.
Betty is a Deputy Officer in Charge of Shimo La Tewa Women’s Prison. With a strong background and interest in human rights, she has worked hand in hand with Kenya National Human Rights and the European foundation to facilitate human rights training for prisons staff.
Her daily tasks include being in charge of supervising development projects, assigning duties to senior officers, and making daily operational decisions. Whilst on secondment, she hopes to acquire new leadership skills and be able to mentor young penal reformers in Kenya.
“As for any person who has never been out of her country it’s really exciting, I really find it fun studying with people of different cultures. I applied for the fellowship before, but sadly I was unsuccessful. This achievement is a dream come true.”
During secondment, the fellows have the chance to explore the sights in London on route to meetings. On their first day, APP Secondment Manager, Kirat Kalyan took them on a guided London bus tour. “I have heard of London Eye and the Tower of London. As I am expected to be in London for months, it will be amazing and I will feel like a dream has been fulfilled in being in the location.”
As with past secondment cohorts, the individuals are exposed to a number of mindful leadership courses and visits, such as staying at a mindfulness retreat at Embercombe in Exeter. “Nature walks has been part of my life, as it’s scheduled in the programme, I think it would be fun to experience its vibe in the UK”
Betty believes that idea sharing will be the most important factor of the learning journey, “...as the main agenda of the fellowship, sharing of ideas with other professionals, policymakers and stakeholders on matters of prison service delivery is paramount.” She went on to say “I will also take into account the model of structures concerning the housing of inmates and staff; this will impact information on advising the housing section when I am back in my prison in Kenya.”
Since 2012, Isaac has been the Deputy Officer in Charge of Kamiti Maximum Prison. With the aspiration to reduce re-offending and crime rates; he is excited to be exposed to techniques and programmes to empower short-term prisoners with the skills, knowledge and attitude in order to overcome challenges associated with life after imprisonment.
“I take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the African Prisons Project, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and the Kenya Prisons Service for having granted me a chance to participate as a fellow."
"I am so happy to have this opportunity to interact with professionals on the international scene in a bid to improve people’s lives, especially the disadvantaged in our community.
I will be able to expand my network with the synergy geared towards a good service to humanity through empowerment in skills, and the knowledge and gratitude to improve prison conditions. As well as this, the journey will help me gain advantageous skills in mobilizing resources within advocacy as a platform of rehabilitation for the incarcerated for social reintegration. My tour of duty will definitely shape my life for good - both professionally and also in my personal life as a changemaker.
This journey is a dream come true after having waited for it since 2016. It is also an opportunity for me to watch my favourite football team Arsenal play other teams in the English Premier league in my presence in the stadium as opposed to watching on a television set. It is a historic journey to sum it up.”