Misconceptions about Prisoners

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Kindly allow me to express my outrage to clear up the wrong perception our communities have about convicts. Gone are the days when inmates are no longer interested in rehabilitation now .Most convicts are enthusiastic about the programme. We are grateful for the opportunity to learn how to make it on the outside, without returning to crime. As a result, I can’t understand why some inmates are kept behind bars when they are excellent at such things as (life skills) anger management, and so on, and have broken away from substance-abuse and have educated themselves on the dangers of (Hiv/Aids). Some have achieved a lot academically as well, yet there or here we sit. What’s the purpose of keeping someone sitting around who entered prison without qualifications and then, through self-discipline and perseverance, set about gaining those Qualifications. Question: Isn’t that inmate ready to be released? Here there are too many inmates who have done everything . They can prove they’re ready for a second chance, yet they still remain captive, behind bars. Jails are not pleasant places. People say we, as inmates, get five-star treatment. But that’s not true. The fact is, my every move is Controlled. I am not able to reach where I like to, or eat what I want and when I want. I also cannot be with the people I want to be with – my family. As prisoners, we feel painful about our plight every minute of the day. Jail is a terrible place. Never forget that! So why not allow prisoners the right incentives for getting out as early as possible. Please let parole boards consider each inmate’s progress more closely. We’ re not just numbers. We are not all doomed to be bad forever. Mistakes are natural. Everybody can make them, but we want to change our ways and be productive citizens. By keeping someone in prison longer than is necessary, you’re only creating more problems. When your child does something wrong, you punish him/her. But then it’s over. The punishment doesn’t last for years. Yes, punish us. But remember, we’re human and some of us will do great things if given a second chance. What can our government expect from a person who is released at the age of 50 or 60? Won’t that person just continue being a burden to the State? I do not say criminals should not be punished! We should be punished. But if you really want to start winning the war against crime, allow those a second chance who’ve proved themselves capable of self-improvement – we might just surprise you! Message to the Namibian people Compiled by Paulino Thomas. B Windhoek Central Prison