Inmates on life sentence keep hope alive, sit test
Fifty per cent of inmates sitting the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams in Naivasha GK prison are on life sentences.
Despite the emerging challenges, the inmates exuded confidence, noting that they were ready to compete with other colleagues. Among the inmates is 74-year-old Grapton Olutwait, who is serving life imprisonment for defilement, while the youngest is Gilbert Chirchir, 24, who is serving 10 years.
Olutwait, who was jailed in 2015, said he dropped out of school due to poverty and rejoined classes in prison in 2016.
He admitted that fellow inmates and the school management had played a crucial role in his rejoining the education system — which had over 1,500 inmates.
“Despite my age, I am sure I can perform well in the exams and join university next year,” said the inmate.
The officer in charge of the prison, Hassan Tari, said they had 16 candidates in the exams, adding that eight of them were on life sentences. He said the inmates would perform well despite being absent from “school” for over a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tari said the prison department had fully supported the education system, which was now a key tool in the rehabilitation of inmates. “We have few challenges like lack of learning materials and qualified teachers but the department is fully focused,” he said.
Speaking on phone, Naivasha sub-county education officer Bernard Chirchir said a total of 8,189 candidates were sitting the exams in the area. He said public schools had 7,060 candidates while private institutions had 1,129 candidates, with 62 exam centres in the sub-county.