Life behind Bars

by - 15:03

Once again, I decided to get involved in a new activity. This time was about prisoners' life and I tried to create a link with PR. So, I went to a Life behind bars conference, which was an information session based on two ex-offenders and a psychologist talking about life in prison and life after prison. I felt interested about it because I wanted to write an essay related to how can a PR practitioner help an ex-offender get his/her life back, reputation and image. It was really difficult to find tactics to create a strategy to do that but I managed to learn a lot more than I thought I would.

It's kind ironic but there are “requirements” to go to prison, to get into the program (that’s what they call it) you need to get a sentence of couple years. There are several reasons to go to prison, from murder to robbery. Some cases of murder arise from mental problems, for example, esquizofernia, committing incest and murdering their own relative; others from drugs addiction or crimes of passion. Murder average sentence is 15 years.

In cases of autism, the offender’s brain development is slow (usually on males) they create obsessions, start stalking people, find hard to communicate with them, which makes them have a bad reaction and kill the person. On overall, disabilities affect maturity and their understanding of certain rules.

To diminish those stages of unconscious behaviour there are courses in prison, drugs awareness course and forensic physiologist to support the diseased. They need to pass every course (if they are not mentally ill), being convincing  and making the psychologist believe they are stable.

Even though prison's laws try their best to improve offenders’ situation, inside the prison it is almost impossible to survive. They need to be a step ahead of others; cops play with them - there is no such a thing called bullying in prisons; dirty conditions ; three men in one cell; some people put stuff into their personal parts just to have things they are not allowed to; chaotic situation; etc.

One of the ex-offenders:


His story is the typical rebellious kid story. He didn’t like school, disrespected tutors and liked adrenaline. He started robbing, he called it “recycle antiques”; had crazy thoughts; got detention and got locked up in kind of boot camps several times. He kept doing the same things and there is always a day that you need to pay for your mistakes. He finally got locked in a real prison, he started changing and learning from people like him.

He is out now and has 8 kids from different women. He went to a job center and he couldn’t get a job. He can’t do what he wants because of his criminal record and any little thing he does, he can go back to prison. He is constantly watching his back, being careful with what he says and does.

The sentence is over but he is not able to continue the life he stopped. “I would do my life different!” The life after prison is an invisible prison. They still are connected to that place no matter how far they go. People will always remind them what kind of person they were even if they have changed. For instance, sexual offenders are never allowed to work with kids.

UK system makes it easier for them, providing mental issues courses; rehabilitation courses;  education- offering degree, master, Ph.D.; etc. But still, what they have done in the past will haunt them in the future.

"How can I help you get your life back?" I asked.

 “I don’t have money (to pay for my work)…If I had the money I would have a job so I wouldn’t need you.” He told me that

As a future PR practitioner, I asked him some questions about how could I help, I went through all the notes I had and my understanding of the situation. I think to reconstruct his reputation, it is necessary to rely on the fact that he is been out of the prison for 5 years, which reflects how good he is doing now and how he changed; getting to know him better- “To know the man you need to know the guy.” (he said) ; show his qualities to society, make him engage with volunteering work, helping the community; use my connections to offer him a job and being his reference; motivate him because that situation causes frustration which can lead for him to disrespect the law again; sessions with a psychologist  and in worst cases- anger management courses; for example in a job interview, make him speak clear about his past, transparency is important; accepting his failures and admitting  that he was wrong are the main steps for success; accept any type of job he is offered because humbleness is the key, the impression he causes on this job will help him with the next one; etc.

I feel sorry for his situation, he paid for all his crimes and now society is committing a crime preventing him from having a normal life.

Lunga Izata

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  1. Your sympathy with Tim brings about the idea of how relationships between friends or inmates are. Tim was in a very unfortunate and difficult situation, and his battle may seem to be on the losing side, but things always have a weird way of turning out for the better. I just hope things are doing well for him, as well as for you. Thanks for sharing.

    Eliseo Weinstein @ JR's Bail Bonds