America’s most popular television news magazine show this week shared an inspiring story about a group called Justice Defenders. The nonprofit organization trains individuals, and prison staff, in nearly 50 prisons in Kenya and Uganda to become paralegals and attorneys who provide legal services for themselves and others.
60 Minutes reporter Anderson Cooper traveled to Kenya to speak with founder Alexander McLean and to see the work of Justice Defenders firsthand. He visited prisons and met paralegals who obtained a formal law education from the group’s partner, the University of London.
In the segment, Cooper features former inmate Morris Kaberia, who shared his story of successfully representing himself by appealing his conviction and reversing a life sentence after spending 13 years in prison.
Isaac Ndegwa Kimaru, a prisoner in Kenya, also had a second chance and completed his law degree and now advocates in court for other prisoners.
Articulate McLean believes that justice can be achieved when the power of law is placed in the hands of the poor. Their work is rooted in the core belief in creating equitable access to fair trials and justice, or as they like to call it, “closing the justice gap.”
Since its founding in 2007, Justice Defenders has served nearly 40,000 incarcerated clients with free legal advice, and 341 legal aid assistants conduct legal practices in 46 prisons in Uganda and Kenya.
In 10 years, UK charity he hopes to have served 1 million defenseless people … “to protect rights while addressing mistakes” in East Africa, in refugee communities in Europe and even in the United States.
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