Prison: A world apart
Prison is a world apart, but it is never as one would imagine it to be. Prison is, par excellence, a place of marginalisation. A visit to an inmate means rejecting marginalisation and isolation. For the prisoners, we are the outside world and our visits create a bridge, a link with it. And as we bring the outside world behind bars, at the same time we bring to the free world that which happens behind prison walls.
The situations of injustice and of serious hardships which we observe are, in fact, many and almost ignored.
Whoever loses freedom loses also a bit of personal dignity.
Remaining close to people who have been condemned means guiding them through difficult periods and situations in their lives. The prisoner cannot be identified with his/her crime. The absence of listening and of response may lead to extreme gestures. Depression and the choice of the means with which to fight, such as strikes, rejecting therapy or gestures of self-injury are frequent. They are the sign of the uneasiness experienced behind prison walls; they represent the request for being listened to and respected.
For the person condemned, and therefore distanced from society, speaking with someone -a relative, a lawyer or judge, means being recognised as a person, respected and, in a certain manner, "re-integrated." For the person who has crossed the threshold of prison, receiving a visit, having a conversation, means being able to forge a bond of friendship..
In Italian prisons, many inmates have neither clothing nor personal linen, nor do they receive any from the administration. It could happen, in fact, that those arrested during the summer are still in their undershirts even in December. Sensitising those responsible, the legislators and the public opinion, forwarding to them instances of humanity and of justice, is an important task.
I'd like to ask you a favour: I need a birthday card (a fancy one) to send to my son for his birthday. Can you send it or bring it to me through someone? I'd really love to wish him happy birthday.