“After 47 years in prison, I’m exhausted”

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AGI – “I am 63 years old and have spent 47 years in prison. With parole days, I have 56 years of service, more than twice what the criminal code requires for a person sentenced to life to apply for parole. I currently see in the future only two possible paths: ask for a presidential pardon or end it once and for allbecause I am really at the end of my strength.” This is how lifer GM, incarcerated at Badu’e Carros prison in Nuoro, expresses “the anxiety one feels at the mere thought of having to die in prison”.

“It cannot be described”, we read in the letter that the prisoner entrusted to the association Socialismo Diritti Riforme (Sdr), committed to the protection of the rights of prisoners, which published it. “From the GM past, only the personal data in the ID card remained. Is it credible that I have not changed after 47 years?”. The lifer tells his story: “I was first arrested in February 1976 when I was 16 years old and since then, apart from a few years (1981-1983) when I escaped from the island of Pianosa, I have been guilty of various escapes, mostly headaches from the anxiety of going back to prison, but since 1987 I have never committed a crime during these doses.’

Words that make us think about living conditions inside a cell“, notes Maria Grazia Caligaris, one of the founders of Sdr, “on the weight of loneliness and the existence of the born distorted and on how much the principle of social rehabilitation needs more penetrating tools, especially when the deviant path begins during adolescence. Loss of freedom in conditions of suffering can be an unbearable burden without proper support.”

“The stigma associated with the original crime seems – emphasizes the SDR exponent – to be indelible and adds to mistakes such as not returning after the award, which unfortunately can occur during decades spent behind bars and with an irrepressible and unbearable desire to never see the cell again. Mistakes that must be considered, but that cannot be forever identified with those who committed them. We hear that a man is not his crime, but then in everyday life opportunities are measured against this betrayed trust and the seed of hope and redemption is buried.”

“Resigning from punishment cannot ignore the hope of regaining it,” Caligaris concludes, “even if only to get a taste of it and not have to die in prison. The GM seems to understand that. Whose job is to evaluate his good faith and give him a new chance.”

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