Officer in Charge - Secondee
Thika Women's Prison, Kenya
Maryanne works as an Officer in Charge at Thika Women's Prison. Last year she visited the UK on our Secondment Programme which helps senior criminal justice personnel observe UK prison management systems.
"After attending the Secondment programme in 2018, my perception of prisoners changed and I have improved the treatment of prisoners by my staff."
She first heard of our work from other officers. "I had heard that they were offering law degrees and legal aid in prisons but had not encountered it until I came to Thika. The legal awareness sessions led by Justice Defenders have helped in decongesting the prison as some petty offenders are able to settle their conflicts out of court. In addition, those that are going to court have been empowered to argue their cases while in court. Some did not know things like Plea Bargaining existed."
Maryanne is most proud of helping prisoners reunite with their families. Family unity is very important to her. If she could change anything, "I would ensure that more staff and prisoners go through paralegal training in order to reduce overcrowding within the prison."