By Gabe Joselow

At a women’s prison in Nairobi, Kenyan inmates are taking the law into their own hands. Law classes have helped inmates launch their own appeals and defend themselves in court.

In a classroom behind bars, three inmates and a prison officer learn the basics of common law.

Inmate Rose Musyoki said these classes have given her the chance of a lifetime.

“It has been my childhood dream to do law, but due to some unavoidable circumstances like lack of finance, I’ve not been able to do it,” said Musyoki. “So when this chance came in I gave it a trial, and now I’m in it, I’m doing it.”

Applied learning

And already, she’s put her lessons into practice, successfully helping another inmate to appeal a sentence for kidnapping by arguing that the accused was under duress at the time.

“When she went there, the prosecution had nothing against her. They never even said anything, when she raised just that defense, the prosecution was asked, ‘Do you have anything against her?’ He said, ‘No, your honor.’ That was a big achievement,” said Musyoki.

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About Christopher Zoukis, MBA

Christopher Zoukis, MBA, is the Managing Director of the Zoukis Consulting Group, a federal prison consultancy that assists attorneys, federal criminal defendants, and federal prisoners with prison preparation, in-prison matters, and reentry. His books include Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2020), Federal Prison Handbook (Middle Street Publishing, 2017), Prison Education Guide (PLN Publishing, 2016), and College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Company, 2014).

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