Welcome to the 2019 Secondees!
This year four men and women, from Kenya and Cameroon, are participants in our Justice Changemaker Journey, visiting the UK to observe our prison management systems. They bring with them a wealth of experience in administration and leadership across the justice system - from prison to probation, and the judiciary.
We are proud to welcome them and delighted to host them. Their visit will include time spent at HMP Coldingley and at The University of Nottingham. To date, APP's partnership with the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and Clifford Chance, who support this programme, has enabled 24 talented prison officers (5 from Uganda and 19 from Kenya) to participate in this unique learning experience.
So far this week, two of our Fellows - Dorothy and Daniel - have visited Parliament as guests of APP Patron Lord Ramsbotham. He shared his experience as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons and discussed with them the current challenges facing the UK and its criminal justice system.
Introducing Fairbain Ombeva and Gerald Rintagu
Fairbain Ombeva and Gerald Rintagu are Senior Superintendents with the Kenya Prison Service. Between them they have over 50 years experience working within prisons.
Fairbain holds a Masters in Business Administration and an undergraduate degree in Correctional Service Management. She is the Officer in Charge of Shimo La Tewa Women’s Prison in Mombasa, Kenya. She is responsible for the prison administration and oversight of the treatment of prisoners placed under her care. Fairbain coordinates the rehabilitation programmes at the prison, ensures that good sanitation is maintained and that the women have access to proper healthcare. She supervises the counselling of both inmates and staff members, and coordinates on-the-job training programmes for staff.
Fairbain is hoping that this learning journey to the UK will empower her, providing the knowledge and networks to contribute towards reducing the overcrowding of Kenyan prisons and recidivism. This could also influence stakeholders to adopt reform measures and improve the provision of health, education and access to justice amongst prisoners.
Gerald began his career as a prison officer 28 years ago and now oversees Naivasha Medium Prison in Kenya. He currently oversees about 780 inmates and manages 265 members of staff. The biggest challenge he has experienced throughout his career is managing difficult prisoners, especially the 450 remandees (those still awaiting trial) - three times the recommended prison population - who he currently looks after at Naivasha.
As the Officer in Charge, Gerald is responsible for taking care of all custodial duties at the prison. These include the rehabilitation of offenders through various programmes, ensuring remand prisoners attend court when required, as well as responding to the welfare issues of prisoners and prison staff. He’s also responsible for handling the expenditure and management of government’s assets.
Gerald is hoping that his time in the UK will show him how prisons in other jurisdictions are handling the challenges of decongestion, as many of Kenya’s prisons are grossly overcrowded. He wants to observe how the UK justice system works, including courts, prisons and resettlement programmes; how human rights are handled and upheld and how best to help rehabilitate prisoners. As a result of his learning journey, Gerald hopes to introduce improved human rights training for prison staff, as well as better rehabilitation and integration programmes for prisoners in Kenya.
Introducing Dorothy Mutemi
Kenya has long recognised that the overcrowding of prisons is a significant justice crisis in their country. Since 1986, Dorothy Mutemi has been involved in the decongestion of Kenyan Prisons, an exercise that is being undertaken by the Probation and Aftercare Service, the Kenya Prisons Service and the Judiciary. She has undertaken various crime prevention programmes, rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders in the community, among other correctional programmes. Dorothy has worked in various capacities, most notably heading the Research Section, where she undertook various projects, including research on the transitional housing for resettlement of ex-offenders. Today she is the Senior Assistant Director of Probation and Aftercare in Kenya.
Dorothy has been working with offenders serving non-custodial sanctions as well as ex-offenders who have been discharged from both prison and borstal institutions. She has also been interacting with offenders held in remand. Her work includes dealing with special category criminals as well as other categories of offenders. Her colleagues and beneficiaries describe her as a respectful professional who is focused and determined. As a senior officer, this provides Dorothy with the potential to positively impact the development of Kenya's correction system at a national level.
During her Secondment Dorothy is hoping to address issues related to the high rate of crime in Kenya, especially organised crime and terror-related violence. She also wants to look at ways to reduce recidivism among the released ex-offenders who are in her caseload, and specific programs for offenders on rehabilitation.
Ultimately, she intends to come up with new programmes to deal with recidivism and to ensure that communities participate in the reintegration of their offenders. She hopes to develop re-entry programmes through community participation, establishing strong links between ex-prisoners and other agencies.
Introducing Daniel Nde Tawembe
Daniel is a Judge and Examining Magistrate in Cameroon. He is responsible for prosecuting and sanctioning offenders.
Daniel joined the Magistracy because he wanted to be in a position to deliver justice in a context where people are increasingly unwilling to trust the justice system. Becoming a Magistrate in Cameroon is particularly challenging when coming from a poor background, since admission into the School of Administration and Magistracy is often contingent upon family or tribal links with public and relevant personalities. Aware of the challenges Cameroon’s judicial system still faces, he believes in a corruption-free justice and wants to see confidence restored through openness, transparency, availability and honesty. He wants to make access to justice easier, especially for the less privileged.
On his return to Cameroon, Daniel intends to share his experience with colleagues and collaborators. Through working sessions with magistrates and prison officers - with those directly in charge of the execution of sentences and penalties - he hopes sharing his learning will contribute to an improvement of Cameroon’s prisons and influence nationwide changes.
Our Justice Changemaker Programme - The Journey
Our Secondees have a track record of excellence that has brought them here and we look forward to the exchange of ideas that will inspire change in penal reform in Africa, and beyond. From overcrowding to recidivism, justice systems around the world face many of the same challenges. Through a programme of workshops, observations, interactions and conversations, these justice officials - at the forefront of justice reform in their countries - will gain some insight into what’s proving effective for prisoners and prison staff in the UK.
We will continue to post updates throughout their Secondment - follow us on social media to find out more or read about the Journey of our 2018 Secondees.