Not even close to freedom
I am not here to judge the law or anything, but this has to be told, written, and saved.
I know I am neither the only one nor the first to molest such a subject, but the more it is discussed the more we see how sick and tired people are because of the situation.
I am a student of Psychology, who volunteered in an association which is devoted to prisoners. I am 19 years old and have no idea about critical concerns, (but those that I had in my childhood) paved the way in front of me to live the excitement and interest through living the experience of meeting some prisoners who timidly shared their stories and sorrows with me.
I visited “ROMIEH” for around a month and I was able to visit the surrounding blocks especially “Al-MAHKOUMINE”. It is way durable to describe how crowded this prison is and how the security, but insecurity issues goes on.
In fact, I want to shed light on the depression that each prisoner is going through. They are totally hopeless and their ideas are moving in the same loop where gloominess, sadness, and misery are their daily bread.
One of them said, “Okay! I am mistaken, I must be punished… I should pay for my faults!” These men are fed up and they gave up for their living.
I met a man who stole a bike but he is sharing the same cell with a mentally-ill prisoner who killed his own father(and not judged yet)How can the punishment of a stolen bicycle be in the same category of killing a soul? Why would a thief share the same environment as a killer? In Roumieh, all prisoners with different crimes are sharing the same place in which comparison and contrasting are taking place and affecting their personality negatively.
I met another prisoner whom I asked if he got any benefit in the prison, he answered, “Yes, I am stealing in way which is way better than before.” The main problem in the Lebanese prisons, especially Roumieh, is that it lacks any rehabilitation and punishment “skills”. This is not how we get someone to stop doing the wrong thing. This is not how we show someone the right road. This is not how we get someone to think about what he did and regrets it.
I’ve been punished for stuff I did long ago. Actually I thought I was punished already upon it”.
This guy thought that after leaving the prison the first time, he could build a new career life, get married and start a new “happily ever after” life. But, he got surprised after three years by being called by the tribunal again to open his file. Do you think that this guy will get over his bad habits which he was trying to forget? Is he getting the chance to show society that? “he can”, that he got his punishment and ready to change.
I will leave you the honor to comment, but don’t forget we are still talking about human beings, the prisoners.
“I am working since morning to get a pack of cigarette”
Mixed thoughts hit me when I heard this guy telling me this. It could be “good” to work in order to get what you want, but wait, we are in the 21st century, do you really want to work all day for a pack of cigarette?
My son needs a soonest treatment in a hospital and no one could help me. What should I do?
I am of course not justifying a thief’s act. But let’s just think, is our country giving these poor families something to at least fulfill their basic needs? Are any initiatives being taken in order to minimize these crimes, from a different perspective? Let’s think this way, there is a fallacy somewhere: that poor man doesn’t have any money to fulfill the basic needs of his family, he steals, he goes to jail, he goes out after several years with no job, and a black point on his book, thus he cannot get a job that would insure his family’s demands, he goes back to stealing. So here, we are not attacking the problem anymore; we are attacking the person himself, which will not guide this country to be a better place, as they, in prisons, believe is their role.
And we, the population, aren’t exaggerating with our reactions and judgments? We have no clue about what the other has been through; we just see the problem as a problem, from our warm homes. What I mean is that we never put ourselves in their shoes, everything is relative, we don’t know what we would have done if we were in their places.
you should see their faces when they see someone they can talk to. You should see the hope they show when they see the lawyer in their court. You can volunteer, do a simple act of listening, and you will be building with many other volunteers some castles of hope with these men. In their lives, inside or outside this prison, they are not even close to freedom.
Farah W. Semaan