The externs in professional mode

Friday, 25 May 2012

Thoughts on Legal Education Classes

By Wilbri John, Externa at LAWYERS

Conducting legal education has been a success for me generally.  I have conducted four legal educations; three at the Freetown Female Prison and one at the Annie Walsh Memorial Secondary School.  Giving legal education to pupils is faster and more rewarding because they are more eager to learn and they ask questions which I responded appropriately.  Most prisoners say they do not need legal education but rather the police and court clerks should be educated on legal issues.  Prisoners are treated with tolerance and respect and at the end of the day the legal education is successful.

Challenges faced in doing legal education in prisons are:
  • ·       Most of the prisoners are more interested in explaining their plight and asking for help rather than listening to what I have to say. 
  • ·       All inmates are not available at the same time because at times they are engaged in compulsory service.  When this happens only sick inmates are available because they are exempted. 
  • ·       Because we educate prisoners on how they should be treated in prisons and their rights in prison, it is extremely difficult to do legal education in the presence of prison officers.  Most prisoners feel terrified to explain if they are being mistreated. 

At the end of each legal education, prisoners are asked if they have questions or problems and most of they come up with complaints.  Prisoners are very friendly and as long as you have a little patience to try and understand each other, legal education runs smoothly.

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