This post has been contributed by Patricia McKellar Associate Director, Undergraduate Laws.
The African Prison Project (APP) supports both prisoners and prison staff across Kenyan and Uganda prisons through their Justice Changemaker Programme. Together they study law with support from volunteer teaching staff, organised by APP, to work towards the University of London distance learning law degree (LLB).
Undergraduate Laws, Associate Director Patricia McKellar visited Kenya in April 2019 to catch up with colleagues and students involved with APP. She visited the offices of APP in Nairobi and worked with the tutors Brenda, Lydia and Faith, who deliver the programme. Visiting Kamiti Maximum Security prison to work with the prisoner students was a special experience for her. When asked about the impact of the distance learning law programme and how it allows prisoners and prison staff to grow in legal and human rights awareness, Patricia says, “Talking to the student prisoners makes you realise what it means to them to be studying our laws programme. It gives a focus to their lives and the ability to assist their fellow prisoners when presenting their cases in court. They face huge challenges in their study and are supported magnificently by APP.’’
Currently there are around forty students studying for a University of London Law degree in African prisons, of which sixteen of them are sponsored by Undergraduate Laws.
While in Kenya Patricia met inmate Joseph Karnaja and was impressed with his dedication to his studies and improving the lives of others. In 2009 Joseph Karanja was one of 4,000 prisoners whose death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment by Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki. Later in 2018 he was one of nine Kenyan students graduating (LLB) from the University of London. Later Read Joseph’s story here.