NAIROBI, KENYA Staff members and uniformed corrections officers lead the reentry walk for CBI.December 11, 2012—On December 8, thousands of Kenyans took to the streets of Nairobi to walk in support of Crossroad Bible Institute’s reentry program, which provides assistance to people who have been released from prison. The six-mile walk was flagged off by the commissioner of prisons and took participants through the heart of Nairobi. Although so many people attended that the staff had difficulties counting them all, CBI Kenya Director Jefferson Gathu estimates that 3,500 people participated.

The event, which was a collaboration between CBI Kenya and Cistern Prison Ministry, sought to educate Kenyans about the difficulties returning citizens face. “The core objective was to create awareness in our churches, institutions and government agencies about the importance of reentry programs,” Gathu said.

In Kenya, there are no reintegration programs in the prisons and very few resources on the outside to help returning citizens avoid recidivism. Without the support of a reentry program, released citizens have a seventy-five percent chance of committing another crime and a fifty percent chance of returning to prison. “Here in Kenya, when a person is released from prison, he is left on his own,” explained Gathu. “Thus it is almost impossible for that person to survive, let alone find a place to work.”

In order to end the cycle of recidivism,CBI Kenya has pioneered a reentry program that sponsors twenty people each year. The program begins in prison with CBI’s discipleship courses, which provide students with foundational principles for godly living. Upon release, CBI Kenya partners with the prison chaplaincy department to organize a reconciliation process between the returning citizen and the family and community. Participants then continue to follow up with the reentry program for six months. Gathu dreams of someday expanding the program to include a counseling center, career training programs and a halfway house.

“We hope this walk will bring reentry issues to the forefront,” said CBI President Dr. David Schuringa. “Reentry preparation and programs dramatically decrease people’s chances of committing another crime, regardless of what country they live in.”