There is life beyond the prison walls and prisoners must not give up on life just because they are confined in the correctional facilities.
The Superintendent, Machakos Prison Mr. Festus Odongo encouraged prisoners that they could earn an honest living after their jail terms if they focus on their talents such as singing, dancing, drama, martial arts and comedy.
The prison Boss was speaking during a talent show at the Machakos men’s Prison where inmates and prison officers showcased their talents in performing arts.
“We have encouraged them that even though they are incarcerated, all is not lost and they should nurture their talents so that upon release they can benefit from those talents and earn an honest living,” said Odongo.
“The outside world should know prison is not hell on earth but a place for rehabilitation and for prisoners to learn some skills and improve their talents,” said the prison boss.
He added the outside world should be ready to receive and accommodate ex-prisoners to help them continue with rehabilitation and live a normal life after prison.
Odongo pointed out that the talent show had impacted the prisoners positively by giving them exposure. He said the prisoners now have hopes of being seen and appreciated for their talents upon release.
“The fact that they can perform and interact well means they are reforming and ready to go back to society as good citizens,” stated the Prison boss.
Vivian Mucheru, the Director of Vision for Change Foundation which has a program on talent behind bars and focuses on recreation and reform, said the day’s talent show was their first program in Machakos and they aim to create a conducive environment for mental wellness and support the inmates to nurture their talents.
“We are in Machakos for the talent show for the prisoners and staff which is part of recreation. This shall be followed by talent development, training and management,” added Mucheru.
She said they have liaised with prison Headquarters and have been nurturing talents in Langata prison, Muranga main women and Maranjau prisons. Their target, she added was to visit all prisons in Eastern region.
Kamitu Julius, one of prisoners in Machakos prison, said such events give them hope and purpose and thanked the stakeholders involved while urging them to come back again.
“We are happy it was a special day where we showcased our talent and it has given us hope. We urge the stakeholders to increase the event days,” said Kamitu.
Bridget Ndanu who is serving her seven year sentence in Machakos women prison, said that they are happy and feel motivated to have showcased their talents. She said her passion is dancing and performing drama.
“Even though at times we feel rejected while in prison, your presence here and support gives us a sense of acceptance. Tell the people out there that we have reformed and are ready to cooperate with society. We are also ready to nurture other talents out there because we are good citizens,” begged Ndanu.