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Prison Journalism: Agent of change

29/02/2024

Prison Journalism: Agent of changeLincoln Raker was incarcerated at Pollsmoor prison from 2013 until 2016 and participated in the restorative justice programme while serving his time.

by Lincoln Raker

29-02-2024 14:18

in Prison Journalism

Prison Image by Unsplash

I think being a gang member made me a different person and it brings out a lot of sides of you and it takes you to another level.

--

What is being an agent of change? Being an agent of change, I think that it is not just the way you act but it is the way that you live. And by that, it is really hard because you have to unlearn anything that you have learned and with that comes a lot of responsibility and sacrifices.

Change and challenges I think that if you come to change, it comes from inside and it shows on the outside, but to be honest with you, change is not just something that happens overnight, and you forget about everything that happens in your path. But your past does determine your future and where you go from there. Being sent back to your community after having been in services, it is so difficult to adapt to the outside world and everyone in it. I think one of my biggest roles that I had to play going back to my community was to be a father to my child and with that, I would say it was so hard for me because being let out of prison with no learning, no education, no income whatsoever made it even harder for me to live a normal life for years. Being out for a few months and not working, it takes your mind down a narrow pathway.

Back to reality For an ex-convict, it is hard to stay on track. The reason I am saying this is because you live with your own rules that you have learned over the years and what comes with great consciousness; You know what the hardest part of it all is all the choices that you made will determine your outcome. And being an ex-convict and gangster, it is so hard to unlearn what you already know. If I can make an example of my life, even with work, it is still hard because I have to wait until my pay date and if my kids ask me for food, it puts more pressure on me and that makes me take some shortcuts in life. For example, if I don't have money for food, it just takes a few words to my gang members and I will have money and much more, but believe me, if I would go to my neighbor and ask for food for my kids, they will just judge me for my past and what I did and it is hard in trying my best to live a positive life but it's so hard.

--

Living with mistakes and seeking change Just remember that I am not perfect, and everybody makes mistakes, and it is just something that we have to live with. You know what the hardest part in life is when you're doing your best and yet there is no change and sometimes, I feel like giving up on life because I want change not just for me but for my house, my friends, and my community and even to make it a better nation so that we all can live in peace.

Just imagine living in a world without gangsters, no trouble, and everyone helping and loving each other, don't you think that the world would be a better place for everyone?

DISCLAIMER: Submission published as received

--

Should you wish to assist in the rehabilitation of former inmates and help put money into the pockets of those who have struggled to earn a living during and after incarceration, click HERE

RESTORE is an NGO based in Cape Town, South Africa, providing inmates at Pollsmoor Prison with restorative justice opportunities.

If you have any questions you would like to ask our prison journalists, WhatsApp us on 060 011 0211.

Do you have contact with a prison inmate who would like to write for The South African website? If so, send an email to info@thesouthafrican.com or a WhatsApp to 060 011 0211.

You can also follow @TheSAnews on Twitter and The South African on Facebook to get the latest prison journalism articles.

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