There were 350 women packed together on only 1200 square metres in the Remand Section of Langata Women’s Prison, Nairobi. These facilities go back to the British colonial era of the 1950ies. They were dirty, stinking, dark, very cold in wintertime and unbearably hot in summer. Women were forced to spend more then 20 hours a day in these mass cells. Mattresses, on which always two prisoners have been lying, were riddled with bugs. The young and the old, the healthy and the sick, the guilty and the innocent people, most of them poor and uneducated, were squeezed together for months or even years, waiting to go to court.
These were the conditions that I found there, when I came in 1999 as a pastor. A prison is not a hotel, they said. - But neither an inferno, so I thought.
Fr. Peter Meienberg