Nobody can really convey the hopes and sufferings of those in a prison.
Only those who have been there know what it takes, to hold on for a very long time, within the confines of a series of barbed fences.
The outside perception of prisons is centred around negativity most of the time.
Many considered prison as dumping grounds for the unwanted and the ills of our societies.
When I visited a prison myself, it changed my negative perceptions about that place.
I met Steven Siname while filming a prison rehabilitation story at the Kerevat prison in East New Britain province – the biggest prison facility accommodating more than 500 inmates and remandees who come from all over the New Guinea Islands Region.
Steven has been in prison since 2008 serving his jail term.
We shook hands and I introduced myself. He did the same.
I never intended to ask him about his sentence or why he was in prison. But I know he is in prison because of one obvious reason; crime.
We sat in front of the prison’s chapel.
I press on the record button on my camcorder as Steven led us through a heart wrenching story of his life behind the series of barbed fences.
“ I first came here in 2008. Life is not perfect. We do mistakes. Prison is a place that make us realize our mistakes and it make us learn from them”, Steven said.
A few meters away from where we were sitting, several layers of razor sharp wires ran across the prison compound.
After talking to Steven, Marcus, a prison officer and my fixture led me through the first, then the second then the third gate.
Eventually we were in the middle of the prison compound.
I looked around and saw nothing except a series of fences and building made of solid bricks.
I felt helpless.
Marcus pointed to the far end of fences. There was a stand-alone brick building.
At the entrance to the building, there were eight boys. They are all about 15 years old.
“That’s the juvenile compound”, Marcus said.
He then pointed to another building towards the entrance of the second gate into the prison.
“That’s where the hard-core live”, he said.
I write this short story to remind us about the freedom we continue to have outside of prisons.
Most of the time we take it for granted.
The fun-fill life we have that those in prison wish they could have too.
We read sensational stories on the media about crime.
The police and the rest of the justice sector receive standing ovations for sending the lawbreakers to jail.
But those in prisons are humans too. The ones we called convicts. They are not animals.
They never stop thinking about when will they live the prison.
Whilst talking to Steven earlier, he told me, “a father sits in his cell every night and worries about his son. He worry about his daughter and he worry about his family’s well being
And he regrets all the bad things he has done.
We will never appreciate the true meaning of freedom from the outside.
Where as in the prison, freedom is something valuable and something that a prisoner considers as a luxury.
For those in the prison, they are only waiting for that day to come, when they will leave the confines of the barbed fences, and to retain their freedom, one more time.
Some won’t be able to make it out alive.
DEDICATED TO THE INMATES, AT JUVENILE COMPOUND – CS KERAVAT
Edwin’s blog is called KANAKA ELITE