Prison. Image via unsplash
Prison. Image via unsplash
By the time I had been deemed ‘ready for release’ or reviewed by the parole board, my nerves were shattered! All my focus had been about surviving inside. This is what we do… survive! The realization had dawned upon me that home (outside) was my next destination. I was ill-prepared for the actual weight of this event. Yes, there had been courses available and recommended. These seemed to amount to nothing more than a force. Every one of them and the skills they were said to offer were so far away.
Be that as it may, my focus was about reaching the community reintegration office in one piece, making the official responsible for me, and getting home. Then, and only then, would one say that freedom was mine. So many thoughts and feelings ran riot through my being. Emotions and spirits were high and all over the place. So, with the knowledge that orange, brown, and white were no longer the only colors of clothing to be fallen under my eyes, some kind of excitement and anticipation the parole board needed to oppose my release, and the criteria had to be met. My angst would subside; however, the reality of my situation was rearing overwhelming status! It meant being accountable and responsible for every movement and decision. I am terrible at keeping time. Deficient and stubborn when found wanting. My determination to remain free of fault is steadfast. Do not falter. Question to self: How am I to cope?
I’ve felt let down and enlarged by the system in place. It doesn’t allude to security nor comfort. The system promised to correct my antisocial behavior. Fear doesn’t wake all the time. Neither does violation. It makes fellas angry and disillusioned. The programs, courses, and events fail decimally in whatever it is they are pretending to do; it is not bringing results. Failure! No wonder it is dubbed as a ‘revolting deer’ disastrous. The fellas that I did time with have kept out of prison by privilege (family) or sheer determination.
The place that held me captive for so many seasons was now handing me the chance to move along. By that, I mean to begin afresh. New chapters. My family is thousands of miles away, on another continent. This will not deter me from remaining out of the ‘tank.’ I am filled with ambition and driven by the determination to not only stay out but to make a major success of myself. A proud citizen of a wonderful nation. However, how am I to go about accomplishing this? Skills development? Work/job opportunities?
Against me are the chips. I am not drifting into the abstract of nothingness. My position is to rise above my insecurities and turn up.
I will make every effort to pull through. However, my feelings toward bed linger on. Nevertheless, to say, it has been some seasons that I am away from the lock-up, and my willpower is growing.
DISCLAIMER: Submission published as received
RESTORE is an NGO based in Cape Town, South Africa, providing inmates at Pollsmoor Prison with restorative justice opportunities.
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