It has been a nagging dilemma on how the children of convicts survive especially when below three years of age.
Normally when a mother is imprisoned, children suffer emotionally due to the separation. They are sometimes placed into foster care. After a parent is locked up, children may feel victimized and begin to react negatively toward authority. Due to low self esteem and understandable depression, their grades in school may also suffer.
Eventually, children may seek acceptance by people in the drug/criminal world.
In Rwanda, this may not entirely be the case because prisoner’s children are well fed, allowed to stay with their mothers and above all they are educated within the prison.
Take a close looks at them they may not exactly know that they are children of prisoners because they are very healthy, smartly dressed and experience the normal care and love from their mothers.
The Kigali Central Prison famously known as 1930, is one of the prisons that has put measures in place to help the prisoner’s kids.
“We have made provisions for these children in terms of their education, food and clothing. They attend classes everyday and have professionally qualified teachers attending to them. The prisoner’s with children are also allowed to be visited everyday unlike other prisoners who are visited once a week,” said Michael Kamugisha, the Director of the Kigali Central Prison.
“This serves as assistance to the mothers in case they need more help in terms of food, clothing and money from their friends and relatives back at home,” said Kamugisha.
Prisons get support from the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) and the ‘Kids at Home’, an NGO.
They have constructed kindergartens and provided school uniforms and a cow for milk provision for these children.
According to Richard Kamanzi, the Superintendent of the Prisons, children below three years of age are allowed to be nurtured by their mother’s in prison.
“Kids below three years of age are the only ones allowed to stay with their mothers inside prison. When they get older, they are sent back to stay with relatives and family members but not sent to orphanages,” said Kamanzi.
There is much to appreciate in prisons and a true taste of this is how prisoner’s kids are taken care of. Take a visit to Kigali Central Prison and experience a different perspective of life there.