Magazine article UNESCO Courier

The Hard Way Back

Magazine article UNESCO Courier

The Hard Way Back

Article excerpt

After eight years and four months in custody, I was released on parole two years ago.

At the end of the day, a prisoner's release depends on the law, in the fullest sense of the term. The system must not only be concerned with punishment; it should also keep track of each inmate's moral development by means of interviews. The prison service must be interested in their fate. In the facility where I was held, administrators and warders kept an eye on every move we made, good or bad, and wrote up reports on our behaviour. I believe those reports play a decisive role.

During my eight years of confinement, I saw several judges visit the prison to make direct contact with certain inmates. That enabled them to understand the prisoners' true personalities. I am sure that this in-depth knowledge is crucial in the decision to release them.

Getting back into society is a tough proposition for any ex-convict. But people must realize that in some cases crime is a curable disease. An inmate who really wants to change, who has thought deeply during his years inside and who has come to enjoy work knows what he wants to become and what he wants to do. He has a clear picture of his past and present. He knows why his life has been filled with pain and suffering and he thinks back nostalgically to when he was a child. …

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