Inmates at Luzira Prison, Uganda share how access to quality reading material, provided by Book Aid International, has made a difference to their life in prison. Not only by supporting lifelong learning. But helping them prepare their defence for court.
Duke Mabeya Gwaka is currently serving 13 years’ imprisonment, he says: “I have read 13 books of different disciplines in a short time. Including law books, information communications technology, business management. Reading law books has enabled me to become competent and confident in my dealings with legal matters,” Duke explains.
“I can now draft legal documents, bail applications, and reviews to be submitted to the higher court. This has worked for me and my fellow inmates. Also, I have learned about factors which lead people to commit crimes and how to avert them.”
Peter Kwanusu, another avid reader at Luzira Prison finds reading educational. He says it has influenced the way he envisages his life outside of prison.
“Reading these books has improved my reading ability. I have gained entrepreneurship skills and knowledge,” Peter explains. “This has opened my eyes and changed my mind. If given another chance to re-join society, I would use them to improve my life and that of my family.
“Inmates now learn to be creative and innovative in the way they think and act. This is because books expose them to different kinds of resourceful information. Reading in prison has helped inmates fight stress by giving us a chance to reflect.”
Another inmate Brian says all inmates, regardless of their educational attainment or socio-economic status, enjoy reading.
“Through these services, inmates have had an immense impact on their professional development,” he explains. “Even those admitted to prison with limited educational background can now read and feel the impact of this service.”
Everyone has a right of access to information, regardless of gender, race, guilt, or innocence. Every year, Book Aid International supplies Justice Defenders with thousands of books in a wide range of subjects. From children’s books and English language skills, to adult fiction, higher education, and law.
Find out more about Justice Defenders’ education work.