Women’s Prison 43

06_11elsuicidiodedorothyhale

Image: El suicidio de Dorothy Hale de Frida Kahlo

At birth, God instills in us the right to be free. But this freedom has been adapted by humans since Adam and Eve. Throughout the course of history there have been laws and I do not believe that we always have justice but I think we have tried to bring a sense of order in the eyes of God to this crazy world.

It’s been a week since I decided to try and understand the motives behind the 26 inmates living here with me in this living tomb. My first conclusion would have to be that rehabilitation clearly doesn’t work because of our 27, 23 of us are re-offenders. Only 4 of us are first-time offenders.

Another fact I could call attention to is how many of us have actually been raised by our biological parents. There are 6 who have and the rest of he 21 have grown up with the absence of at least one parent, most often the father. There are four of us who have been raised by grandparents and interestingly enough, those are the one who were jailed at the youngest age!

Eighteen of us are white, leaving 7 black. Do not forget that this little island is not of the Congo, we are Calabar. 9 of these men have been through either etiquette schools or juvenile detention centers.

There is another curious facet to prison life. The government who, in it’s propaganda-fueled desire to provide a positive view of its prison system, requires inmates to study. If they don’t, they lose some of the very few privileges. Here only three have made it to the Bachelor’s level, two of them have completed the equivalent of a college education and the rest barely have high school.

Those who have completed the 9th grade before they were imprisoned, here have to go back to school unless they provide a Certificate of Secondary Education. Some of them even prefer to almost start back at the first grade since it is, by their own admission, a way to emerge from this dungeon and breathe a cleaner air.

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