A Kenyan woman was this week a speaker at the TED Women Conference where she narrated her journey to helping prisoners after finishing her term at Lang’ata Prison.
Teresa Wanjiku Njoroge was sentenced to one year imprisonment in 2011 for financial crimes which she said she never committed.
Ms Njoroge was a banker at Standard Chartered Bank when the crime happened in 2008.
She went through court proceedings for two and a half years before being convicted. She was locked at Lang’ata Prison for one year and got released after winning her appeal.
Ms Njoroge told her story during this year’s TED Women’s Conference in New Orleans.
She claimed investigating and prosecuting officers asked her for bribes, which she was unable to pay, before eventually being convicted.
Her experience in prison spurred to start Clean Start Kenya, an organisation that connects prisoners to opportunities in order to give them a second chance.
“As I listened to story after story of these close to 700 women during that one year in prison, I soon realized that crime was not what had brought these women to prison, far from it, it had started from an education system whose supply and quality is not equal for all, lack of economic opportunities that pushed these women to petty survival crimes, the health system, social justice system the criminal justice system.
“If any of these women who are mostly from poor background falls through the cracks in the already broken system the bottom of that chasm is prison, period,” explained Ms Njoroge.
Ms Njoroge will this month be celebrating her sixth anniversary since she was released from prison.
“Every time I go back to prison, I feel at home. But it is the daunting work to achieve the vision that keeps me awake at night,” she told the attendees of the TED Women Conference.
The mother of two says her experience made her strive to address the injustices within the criminal justice system.
Watch her address at the TED Women Conference here.