Comunità di S.Egidio

FREEDOM FOR THE PRISONERS


Free the prisoners
Life in prison
Programmes of adoption
Some examples

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"…he has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's grace."
(Lc 4,18)

ARE LIFE AND FREEDOM WORTH 50 CENTS?

How much is a day's life worth? 
In Mozambique a day's life is worth 50 cents for prisoners who have already served their sentence.

To steal an apple, a piece of soap or two chicken: these are the "crimes" committed by many of the prisoners in the prisons of Mozambique. Often people serve very long terms for such small crimes. Sometimes, when the prisoner - a poor person, because only the poor commit such crimes - cannot pay the legal fees or the monetary punishment, he runs the risk of spending years in prison. And he may have just stole some food. As in many other countries, in Mozambique the punishment for crimes is made of two parts, one is a period to be serviced in jail, the other is a monetary punishment. When the term has come to an end one has to pay the bail, which also includes a reimbursement for legal fees, to be freed. If you can't pay, you stay in prison. 

The amount of this "extra punishment" is proportionate to what had to be paid: about an extra day of prison every 50 cents one cannot pay.

So for the poor the prison doors stay closed, sometimes indefinitely.

Moreover, life in prison is especially hard and difficult: one is not only deprived of one's freedom, but also lacks food, clothes and room.
It is easy to fall sick, even severely, and die. Under-nourishment, tuberculosis, sometimes cholera, easily attack people who have already been through a life of poverty and are weak because of the detention.

To free a prisoner is to save a life

With only 150 dollars it is possible to give back a year of life to people who are in jail because of minor crimes and cannot get out after serving their sentence, because they can't afford to pay the legal fees or the bail.

It's only 50 cents a day. But they're enough to save somebody's life.

The program "Free the prisoners"  wants to help these prisoners go home, aiding them in paying the bail and the legal fees.

Some, with the help of the Community of Sant'Egidio, were already able to go home. Here are some examples.