The Mindful Inner Rehabilitation Project is a project that is revolutionalising Kenyan prisons. Inmates train to be Mindful Leaders, who then further train other inmates – and so it continues.
The programme began in 2015 in the largest maximum security prison, Naivasha. In 2016 the materials that had been translated into Kiswahili were formally handed over to welfare officers from Langata (female prison in Nairobi) to help the expansion into other female prisons. Since 2017 this programme has expanded in 2 ways: (1) spontaneously to prisons such as Kitale, where 6 Naivasha inmates (Mindful Leaders) were transferred and where they started with 60 trainees; and (2) by the request of the prison governor in prisons such as Nyeri Medium.
The training is underpinned by the Mindfulness Plus programme which was specifically designed to address the needs of the people in the Kenya Prisons Service. Most of the techniques are captured in a student workbook, teacher handbook and practice portfolio. The workbook guides and provides techniques to help the inmates become more mindful, present, alert and attentive – which in turn creates emotional resilience. These materials have been translated into Kiswahili and are being currently translated into 2 other languages. A further Mindfulness and Resilience handbook has been created by the pioneers, as well as creative arts, poems, dramas, comedies and song – all to reach different audiences and people.
The Kenya Prisons Service Director of Rehabilitation, prison governors, staff, inmate Mindful Leaders and trainees all share the same collective goal – to increase the reach to prisons all across Kenya, Africa, and to lead the way for the world.
For more information, reports of impact, stories of inmates, videos etc, see Link to blog