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In this edition of the Insights from Inmates blog, we are showcasing the poetic talents of some of the prisoners involved in our projects. Life behind bars is hard for everyone, and the experiences which lead people to end up in prison can be incredibly difficult. An important step towards successful rehabilitation is to talk about these issues, and express whichever feelings are being felt. Prose is an ideal outlet for inmates to speak their minds, and share what has happened in their lives, and we are privileged that they should share these words with us.

We hope you enjoy the following contributions from Karuhanga Serapio and “K. H.”

Please note that for prisoners’ own protection, names are changed, and that as per prison policy, anything written in prison must be vetted by prison staff before leaving prison.

 

Karuhanga Serapio (Upper Prison, Luzira, Kampala) – My Plight

 

Groomed, prosperous in life to be

I was in all meant to excel.

That all, I would not now see

Nor had I seen life to tell

My needs to have

My needs to love

The sun rose as if it would not again

No, as it had never done before

To shine with no sign of rain

My spirits were high

As though to fly

In a dock I stand accused

For a felony I know not of

Real means, now not used

As the panel goes on, hot

Time is hard

This trial is hard

Outside I can hear heavy rain

Or, is it my own tears?

To feed my curiosity I look again

And confirms my fears

Now I am gone

My life torn

As if from slumber I hear an alarm

It’s a siren of a police car

Like a child starved, I raise my arm

For a last wave to my sister afar

The car stands by

Adieu, says I

My ears hear bells rung

Inside I feel my heart roaming

Yes, I am sentenced to hang

As the sun sets in the morning

Lo! This can not be

If be, why me?

 

“K.H.” (Remand Prison, Luzira, Kampala) – Walls & Fences

 

For an act which the authorities have yet to prove;

But they decide to confine you behind walls surrounded by fences!

Rights are taken away from you,

Family is missed,

Friends not seen,

Favourite dish not served,

So painful is the sight of walls and fences.

Time is limited and often calculated for you – indeed you are a prisoner.

A person with limited or no freedom, behind walls and fences.

You’ll never see dusk fall – the walls won’t allow.

You will never enjoy a morning bird’s song – the metal door is still locked!

You will never see the sunrise – you’re behind walls!

So inmates remember the walls have no mercy,

And the fence won’t smile,

But God won’t forsake you and the bad conduct we will stop

Lest we will be condemned and brought again

Behind walls and fences!

Our writing skills project remains popular in prison, and provides a creative outlet for inmates.
Insights from inmates: poems and prose
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