I recently interviewed sexual offenders at the George Correctional Services. The stories that come out of there made my jaw drop.
Take for instance the self-made weapons. I always thought the weapons were somehow sneaked into the facility, but no. I was wrong.
Self-made weapons can be anything from a steal strip taken from underneath a bed and grinded until it forms a blade. The handles for these blades are sometimes plastic toothbrushes that are heated and bent around the end of the blade.
Locks in socks or pillow cases also seem to be a firm favourite. Wooden brooms carved and converted into a spikey weapon.
Self-made tattoo machines and knives made of plastic plates. These are some of the methods the inmates use to either protect themselves or use whenever there’s a fight.
If you’re not a number, someone who belongs to either the 26s, 27s or the 28s (all prison gangs), you are called a Frans – the lowest of lowest in the inmate food chain.
They keep to themselves and have to hand over anything they get from visiting family or friends – anything from toilet paper to sugar and cigarettes. You either have to give it to them or they take it.
The Frans’ clean the toilets and scrub the floors at 05:00. They wake up, clean the bathrooms and wait for breakfast. According to one of the inmates they have one hour exercise – basically time you can spend outside – and then you go back to your cell and wait for supper. Supper is served at 15:00. “We probably spend 23 of the 24 hrs in our cells.
It's real hectic, harrowing stories which I won’t be sharing here today. Maybe another day. Things that will make your hair stand up in the back of your neck.
At the end of the day it’s not a place you want to be and from the bottom of my heart I beg the children of today to keep on the straight and narrow. Times are tough and with our current socioeconomic state in some areas many children turn to drugs and alcohol at a very young age.
I think it’s a way of survival, or just a way of escaping their reality for a while. Whatever the case may be the crime rate in our country is drastically increasing and becoming more and more violent. It’s no secret.
We can play the blame game. Blame the government, blame the police, blame the traffic officers…at the end of the day if you raise your children well, with good morals, self-respect and self-discipline, half of the battle is won. #JustSaying