WINDHOEK – Jessica Geingos is one of five female offenders serving time with their toddlers in the Windhoek Correctional Facility.
She is incarcerated with her 15-month-old baby girl, Happiness Geingos.
Geingos, 36, was sentenced two years ago to 17 years for murdering her boyfriend at Otjiwarongo in 2013. She fatally stabbed him with a knife in the chest during a fight over a laptop.
New Era came into contact with Jessica during the inauguration of the female centre at the Windhoek facility by First Lady Monica Geingos yesterday.
There are 89 female offenders currently at the facility. During the tour of the facility, Geingos agreed to the reporter taking a picture of her and her daughter she was carrying around her waist in the room the two share.
The room has a sleeping cot for the baby and the mother’s bed. The room also has a toilet. All mothers with children each have their own room with their baby.
According to the law, the facility only allows mothers to keep babies at the facility until the age of two and from there the baby is either handed over to the mother’s family or to social workers who must raise the child while the mother serves her time.
For Jessica, there are nine months left before she and her baby part ways.
She plans to release Happiness into the care of her (Jessica’s) father and grandmother when she turns two.
In the meantime, she is happy to be with her child. She also has no complaint about the food served to her infant.
Happiness is her mother’s fourth child. Jessica has three other children, aged 17, 14, and six.
Jessica, fighting back tears, said she misses her other three children dearly.
Two of the children are in the care of her stepmother, while one is with his father.
“I miss them a lot. I don’t have a mother or grandmother who would have looked after them. I don’t know how they are coping. I just want to be close to them,” she said, finally shedding tears.
Phone calls are rationed in prison. Jessica is allowed to make two per week – each lasting 10 minutes.
She uses the calls to speak to her stepmother and her three children, during school holidays because they are in boarding school.
Her second call goes to Happiness’s father, whom she met while out on bail.
Recalling the fateful day when she killed her former boyfriend in 2013, Jessica said after spending a day consuming alcohol with him, a fight broke out over a laptop.
The late boyfriend felt Jessica allowed the children to play with the laptop, which he did not like. “We were arguing and then a fight broke out. I grabbed a knife and stabbed him in the chest,” she narrated. She was released on bail in October 2013 and spent four years outside during which she gave birth to Happiness.
A regretful Jessica cautioned women to know how to control themselves, especially when under the influence of alcohol.
Jessica’s room is across from another mother, Hermina Bostander, who is serving 12 months for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. She was granted bail of N$2 000 but she cannot afford it.
A few metres away, another woman, who preferred anonymity, lives with her two-month-old baby boy. She is serving four years in jail for drug dealing. Namibian Correctional Service Commissioner-General Raphael Tuafeni Hamunyela said the centre has capacity to house 108 females and consists of two living units, a programme area and health clinic.
In addition, Hamunyela said the facility contains a child-friendly area, designed to provide children under the age of two years a harmonic environment which assists in strengthening and building bonds with their mother. First Lady Monica Geingos committed to furnishing the facility for babies, after Hamunyela asked stakeholders for assistance.
“Leave it to me,” said the first lady.
“I will have it furnished. Until the age of two, it is critical for a mother to be with the child, whether it is for breastfeeding or bonding purposes,” stated Geingos. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) fully furnished the health clinic.
2019-06-13 09:23:28 2 months ago