Crossing Divides: Kenya jail’s ‘mindful’ scheme aims to bring sides closer

Kenya’s prisons are hotbeds of violence. But could an experiment with mindfulness bring inmates closer to their hated guards, asks BBC Africa’s Mercy Juma.

The prison gate stands some 2.4m (8ft) high, a black mass of steel bars, topped by sharp, shiny razor wire.

This is Naivasha GK Prison, Kenya’s largest maximum-security jail just north of Nairobi, where more than 2,000 men are serving life sentences or awaiting the death penalty.

In a dimly lit hall, dozens of men in navy-striped uniforms sit in neat circles with a handful of green-clad warders.

They are silent. You can hear yourself breathe.

“Take a deep breath; in… out… close your eyes,” says a guard in the centre. “Notice your posture. Sit upright. Are you relaxed, your shoulders down, your face soft?” READ MORE

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