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Behind prison walls: What Jowie Irungu is likely to face as he serves jail term for murder

Five weeks after Lady Justice Grace Nzioka found Mr Joseph ‘Jowie’ Irungu guilty of the brutal murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani in her apartment, he has been sentenced to death.

The Judge found that there had been sufficient evidence to establish beyond reasonable doubt that Jowie was involved in the murder which sparked countrywide uproar and condemnation. Former prime time television news anchor Jacque Maribe- Jowie’s former fiancée- was acquitted in the same murder case.

Also read: Mammito speaks amidst backlash over Jowie sentence skit

Why murder suspect Kang’ethe is ‘held in handcuffs’ in prison

As Jowie prepares to embark on a life of incarceration, Nairobi News now looks into the life that awaits him behind prison walls following past interactions with male and female prisons across the country including Kamiti and Langata prisons:

  1. Jowie will no longer have free access to his family on the outside. Any and all of their interactions will have to be pre-registered with wardens on duty, and their conversations monitored. These visitings will be held in an open space with a barrier between both parties, and the visits will be strictly timed. In the event he is found in an indiscipline case, it may be impossible for his family to visit him until the case is resolved and he has faced the consequences.
  2. If his family will be unable to visit him often, phone calls are allowed but they will be monitored phone calls from a phone handled by an administration warden. There will be no privacy when speaking on the phone either.
  3. Any money his family sends him will be handled by an administrative warden. Prisoners are not allowed to physically keep money. The money will then be credited at prison facilities such as the canteen, general shop and barber shops where he will use it as needed.
  4. Any pre-approved shopping he receives from outside first has to be inspected- wrappers have to removed from packaged items such as soap, the rolls removed from tissue papers; and boxed items unboxed and carefully inspected- before a family member can access the prison compound. The shopping is then inspected once again before he will be able to receive the goods and keep them with his belongings.
  5. Sleeping quarters are no longer private. He will sleep on a bunk bed among tens of other prisoners having received prison issued bed ware and uniforms for his stay.
  6. His friendships will change. Cliques will form and he will have to find people or a group to fit in with. It may help him if he joins certain ‘clubs’ such as the Christian Union where he can make friends or form a friendship with prisoners assigned the same duties as him. Behind prison walls, it is easy to make and break friendships; and so, he will have to learn to navigate the dynamics as fast as possible.
  7. His life will no longer be his 100%. Akin to being in boarding school, his time will be set out for him from dusk to dawn. What time he wakes up, what duties he must do, what time to have his meals, what time he can have his free time, what he can do with his free time and what time he goes to bed among others. At all times, wardens will be watching him from various stations to ensure law and order is maintained within the prison.
  8. While it remains an open secret and often unspoken of, prisoners tend to deal with intimacy issues especially if their jail terms are long. Jowie will have to either witness other prisoners being affectionate and intimate with each other; and probably- in the off chance it does happen- rebuff any advances made on him.