JKUAT Students Provide Free Legal Services to Inmates

JKUAT Law Students after the visit at the Langata Women’s Prison.

In the world today legal advice and counsel are quite expensive and sometimes not easily accessible to those in dire need. Providing free services is therefore essential in not only giving support and crucial advice to those who need it but also as a show of compassion to the incarcerated or those awaiting final judgment

In Kenya, less than 10% of accused persons can access a lawyer, which is a major drawback in terms of securing legal representation; yet it is also every Kenyan’s right according to the constitution. This is an impediment to those seeking justice.

In a bid to address this gap, JKUAT Law students from the Karen Campus held their monthly legal clinic on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 where they visited Langata Women’s Prison and provided Pro Bono Legal Services to the inmates.

The legal clinic’s mission was to provide the law students with an opportunity to practice law and make a contribution to real social justice issues.

Annete Kahunyuro, a fourth-year law student lauded the initiative terming it illuminating in terms of the need to enlighten and educate inmates especially women on the court process and also various legal terminologies such as plea bargaining, diversions, and sureties.

“Clearly, the true measure of our commitment to justice is not measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged and the respected among us. But it is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated and the condemned,’’ stated Ms. Kahunyuro.

According to the programme’s founder, Milkah Wahu, a Lecturer at JKUAT Karen Campus and a Lawyer by profession, the legal aid programme was established in 2018 and aims to train participating law students between law in books and the work of practicing lawyers.

This, she added, was done through students providing basic legal services under the supervision of practicing lawyers to minority and marginalized members of the public.

“For any profession, practice is paramount in terms of perfecting one’s craft and the law students are no exception. As law students, they are required to get firsthand experience through studying inmates’ cases and giving advice in relation to the law,” observed Ms. Wahu.

As the adage goes a kind gesture can reach a wound but only compassion can heal. The don believes changing the mindset of these young men and women will give them a better perspective in terms of doing their best and giving back to society without expecting any monetary gain.

“This exercise is necessary in ensuring the students hone their skills learnt in class and transfer them to the environment”, noted Ms. Wahu.

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