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Prison Journalism: Staying on track

Lincoln Raker was incarcerated at Pollsmoor prison from 2013 until 2016 and participated in the restorative justice programme while serving his time.


Image via Unsplash

If I could tell you how to live life without any failures, I would.

Life Is What It Is

I think that life has its own worries, and we should just deal with it as it comes, looking back on my life, how many times I failed and what I messed up. I think one of my most challenging was this: to stay clean of drugs. I think that I always just wanted to smoke because of not having any feelings or not worrying about anything or anyone. Let me tell you, if you have ever smoked, that will always be part of you, and that is so easy to go back to it, just one simple trigger and you will end up back where you came from. Finding a way is not as hard as staying away from it. I think that growing up in the ghetto in a house where they sold drugs and smoked, it was so hard because just what I saw was not as bad as what I did for it.


I think that having good friends gives you a good mindset and a good lifestyle towards life, but at the end of the day, I can check what I want to do and who I want around me. I think that having support and someone looking out for you is just a small foundation for your mind and what you want in life. If I can make an example of my life, it was very hard to stay out of trouble and away from the friends that I had. It took a very long time for me to make up my mind and to stay away from all the bad things that I did.

Being Labelled

I think of one’s past and lifestyle; it is hard to stay in the good looks by people just because of my past, and even when I did not do something wrong, just because of my past, they will say that it was me and to prove to someone that you’re not the same anymore is hard because being in prison and returning back to your community, they look at you in a different way. Yes, I was a bad boy, but that does not mean that is what I wanted to be. I think that people make mistakes and each one of them comes with options in life, meaning that you have a choice in life, and it is up to you what you do and how you do it.

I was just a mistake that I went through all of that, but I think that if it happened, it was supposed to.

DISCLAIMER: Submission published as received

Should you wish to assist in the rehabilitation of former inmates and help put money into the pockets of those who have struggled to earn a living during and after incarceration, click HERE 

RESTORE is an NGO based in Cape Town, South Africa, providing inmates at Pollsmoor Prison with restorative justice opportunities.

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