Current News

 APP University of London Law Scholars in the News.

UoL students Kenya webOn Tuesday 7th October, the Australian National TV channel, ABC TV, (Australian’s version of the BBC) screened a half hour programme ‘inside story’ on Kamiti Prison in Kenya, and the work of the prisoners there serving as paralegals and taking on the Kenyan justice system to overcome wrongful convictions.  Inmates self-representing have resulted in an estimated 3500 successful self-defences in the past 10 years.  Wilson Harling Kinyua, a prisoner and APP University of London University law degree scholar took centre stage during the programme.  Wilson is one of several APP supported students to make international news. Peter Ouku was featured on the BBC in the recent past and also runs a clinic to support other inmates. Peter Ouku is pursuing an LLb with the University of London. Watch video…

APP also recently celebrated the inaugural first diploma graduands from Uganda and Kenya. APP continues to support smart and driven students as they pursue diplomas and degrees in law. We believe that prisoners, when paired with skills and education, can have a direct and lasting impact on their own lives and those around them. The ability of our students to act as paralegals in nations where lawyers are rarely available to the poor is just one example of APP’s successful leadership programme.

Into the Prisons – Week two of our Kenyan Prison Officers’ trip to the UK

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After a busy weekend visiting London’s attractions and spending an afternoon at the British Museum with APP supporter, Sandra Worthington, APP’s secondees from the Kenya Prison Service entered into the action of the second week with gusto. The week was kick started by meetings with Peter Melleney and the Prison and Probation Ombudsman. Conversations with Kate Eves, Assistant Ombudsman, Fatal Incidents, and Michael Dunkley, Serious Complaints Investigations, at the Prison and Probation Ombudsman’s offices allowed the secondees to reflect upon Kenya’s recently established Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ), also known as the Office of the Ombudsman. Later on, Peter Melleney, barrister at Charter Chambers practising predominantly in regulatory, criminal and public law, gave the fellows an expert’s insight into his field, and built on the knowledge already garnered in their first week. We were glad to hear that, following the meeting, Peter went on to write a blog piece for his chambers about APP’s programme! Read more…

 

Our 2014 Kenyan Prison Officers have arrived in the UK and they are focused on reform.

Kenyan Secondees Oct 2014

Our Kenyan prison officers and APP’s Lauren (far left).

Last week, Beverline Lungatso, Antony Asige Mugomati, Dennis Kipruto Mungo and Jacob Mbogo Gachuhi arrived in the UK on a long eight hour flight from Nairobi, Kenya. They are four prison officers working in the Kenyan Prison Service, selected by APP to come to the UK for six weeks and complete a Professional Fellowship award funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. APP identified these passionate individuals as committed to working for penal reform and making improvements to the criminal justice system, once they complete the award and return home. The programme we have put together will contribute towards APP’s larger Leadership Development work, which aims to develop the skills and capacity of senior prison staff so that they can facilitate change in their local situations.

Having landed at Heathrow at 6 in the morning on Sunday, they quickly found their feet and jumped head first into the programme. Apart from navigating through London’s notoriously challenging tube system, the first week was spent orienting themselves in Legal London, and meeting with legal and prisons professionals. This included a visit to the Old Bailey and shadowing barristers in court. Read more…..

Three inmates at Uganda’s maximum security prison and one former inmate presented with Diploma in Common Law at Uganda’s Maximum Security Prison.

The three inmates are the first ever inmates to receive qualifications in law in Ugandan prisons

Susan poses with the Principal Judge, Justice Yorakamu Bawmine(left) and the CGP, Dr. Byabashaija.

Susan poses with the Principal Judge, Justice Yorakamu Bawmine(left) and the CGP, Dr. Byabashaija.

On Tuesday 19th August, three inmates at Uganda’s maximum security prison and one former inmate under the APP Scholarship Programme were presented with their Diploma in the Common Law by the University of London. This was during a convocation ceremony, the first of its kind in Ugandan prisons, held at Luzira Maximum security prison in Kampala. The three inmates are the first ever inmates to receive qualifications in law in Ugandan prisons.

The ceremony was attended by the Principal Judge, Justice Yorakamu Bamwine as the chief guest and the Commissioner General of the Uganda Prisons Service, Dr. Johnson Byabashaija who was also accompanied by other dignitaries from the Uganda Prisons Service. They joined the African Prisons Project and the University of London in celebrating this milestone with the students and their families. Read more…..

I would read in the toilet at night because lights were turned off as part of prison regulations.

William, with the support of APP, is pursuing a Degree in Law, under the University of London Long Distance Programme. He started during his incarceration in prison. He was released from prison after he successfully appealed the military court decision which had wrongly convicted him. He hopes to become a legal advisor or prosecutor.

In 2007, William* was arrested under Uganda’s Military Law and sentenced to five years in prison. When this happened, William believed that his life was over. “This is the end of the world now. I thought this is the end of me.” Instead, his experience in prison has transformed his life for the better. Read more…..

Transformation is taking place before my very eyes, Prisoner at Gulu, Northern Uganda reveals.

Iranya (standing) attending to FAL trainees at Gulu Prison.My name is Rokan Jeffers Iranya. This is my story. I was the sixth child in a family of 12. I attended much of my education in my home town. This season of my life went by pretty much without any significant hiccups. At the end of my formal education, I qualified as a Grade 3 primary school teacher.

I was involved in formal teaching for a while until I was recruited by an international field based organization in Southern Sudan. Life was really good at that time. I was free, could sustain myself and meet the needs of my family. Without any warning, I was arrested, charged and sent to prison, while visiting my family in Uganda. Finding myself behind prison walls was one of the toughest experiences that I have had to go through. Read more…..

African Prisons. Project leaves a mark in the lives of Prisoners and Prisons staff at Gulu main Prison.

Female inmates attending a FAL class at Gulu Womens PrisonMargaret Orik Obonyo is the Officer in Charge Gulu Main Prison and the District prisons command based in Gulu. Margaret was first introduced to African Prisons Project (APP) in 2012 by her predecessor. She was surprised when she discovered that APP had been involved in a number of beneficial projects which greatly benefitted the inmates and the communities within and around the prison facilities. APP has been involved in rehabilitation programmes, the provision of health facilities and training of prisons officers and prisoners.

Margaret appreciates the partnership between the Prisons and APP particularly because of the approach that APP takes in offering relevant programme activities, which have enhanced the management of inmate affairs. “APP is one of the first organisations to leave a mark in Gulu main prison by constructing the Health Centre, renovating the library structure and setting up Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) class for women which was just a dream.” Read more…..

Leaving Differences Behind: Inmates take on officers at a Women’s Day Event at Luzira Women’s Prison, Kampala.

Female prisoners pose with the trophy that was won by the female officersNothing could keep the spectators in their designated, shaded seating areas. As soon as the match started the whole crowd of women clad in yellow overalls rushed towards the pitch, cheering their team. “You were praised a lot beforehand … Now we want to see how good you really are!” they sang in Luganda. Women of all ages stood around the pitch, some with a baby in their arms or clutching a child to their hip, others jumping and dancing in excitement.

Both teams on the netball pitch wore smart and sportive outfits. “Who were you passing that ball to?” several women shouted as the ball thrown by a woman from the team in light orange tricots went beyond the borders of the field. Read more …..