Prison is no five star hotel – cry inmates

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Windhoek

Convicted criminals who shared their story in a series of exclusive interviews with New Era this week said, contrary to popular belief, prison is not a “five star hotel” in terms of the food served to inmates.

“It is not a five star hotel, as people who are outside say. Here you learn the hard way. I lost a lot in terms of property and my children grew up without a father and my behaviour painted a bad picture of my family,” 53-year-old Steve Ricco, a convicted murderer said on Monday.

Another convicted murderer, Simeon Muulu, also said his experience in prison cannot be compared to a luxury hotel. “Life in prison is hard. It may look as if it’s easy, but it is not,” said the 35-year old convict.

Meanwhile, Ricco who has thusfar served 19 years of his 25-year prison sentence says he is remorseful over the crime he committed and that people outside should do everything not to end up in prison. “People must refrain from committing crime, because life is very tough here,” the father of eight children added. “The community outside must not regard us as criminals, but as people who made mistakes. We are sorry and they must welcome us with open arms,” Ricco further said.

Jesaya Shigwedha, 45, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison for a heist of cash in transit, says prison has given him a different perspective on life. According to Shigwedha, who has served seven of the 17-year sentence, many people who are not in prison are too “relaxed and not very committed”. He urged people outside prison to make use of every opportunity. Also, he said people should stay away from all forms of negative influences that can destroy their lives.

“I’ve learned to distance myself from negative influences, because when times are hard the people who claim to be friends are nowhere to be seen,” said Shigwedha.

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