The general assumption of life behind the bars for Kenyan prisons is that it’s a turbulent experience characterised by hard labour, bullying, and the infamous poorly-cooked ugali-cabbage diet.
This might have been true under past regimes but the environment has really changed for those behind bars.
However, reforms applied to Kenyan correctional process are a burst of fresh air, if a Thursday graduation ceremony held at the Kamiti Maximum Security is anything to go by.
In the event, 10 inmates drawn from different jail facilities around the country graduated with a Bachelor of Law (LLB) degrees from the University of London.
This means that upon their release, the reformed persons can use the same system they have undergone to assist the government to deliver justice in a timely manner.
The 10 were part of a batch of prisoners who spent four years juggling between academics and the inconvenience of incarceration, to attain the qualification which is one of the most revered in the country.
Seven other graduands in the Thursday event were inmates from Ugandan prisons.
Fully draped in academic wear, the learned inmates were treated to a processional parade as is the custom with regular graduation ceremonies, thereafter lining up to receive their accolades from the University representatives.
The highly commendable affair is the brainchild of the Africa Prisons Project (APP) which aims at equipping prisoners with legal skills.
“Your past should not define your future…Have bravery to reach your full potential,” the beaming inmates were encouraged.