Global Nonprofit that Trains African Prisoners to Become Lawyers is Featured on 60 Minutes


The most popular television news magazine show in America shared an inspiring story about a group called Justice Defenders this week. The nonprofit trains people—and prison staff—in nearly 50 prisons in Kenya and Uganda to become paralegals and lawyers to provide legal services for themselves and others.

60 Minutes reporter Anderson Cooper traveled to Kenya to speak with Founder Alexander McLean and to see Justice Defenders’ work firsthand. He visited prisons and met with the paralegals who earned a formal law education from the group’s partner, the University of London.

In the segment, Cooper introduces former prisoner, Morris Kaberia, who shared his story of successfully representing himself by appealing his conviction, and overturning a lifelong sentence after spending 13 years in prison.

Isaac Ndegwa Kimaru, a prisoner in Kenya, was also given a second chance and went on to complete his law degree and is now advocating in court for other prisoners.

McLean articulated believes that justice can be achieved when the power of the law is put into the hands of the poor. His work is rooted in a core belief of creating equal access to fair trials and justice, or as they like to call it, “bridging the justice gap.”

Since its founding in 2007, Justice Defenders has served nearly 40,000 imprisoned clients with free legal advice, and 341 auxiliary paralegals are running legal practices at 46 prisons in Uganda and Kenya.

Within 10 years, the UK charity hopes to have served 1 million defenseless individuals… “to protect rights while addressing wrongs” in East Africa, in refugee communities in Europe, and even in the US.