Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Kelly's World | These prisoners are living life

Published:Monday | March 12, 2018 | 12:00 AM

I've often heard law-abiding citizens complain that criminals, even the incarcerated ones, are the 'free' people in this country.

Think about it, we have to lock up our homes with grilles because we're afraid of break-ins. I've seen three-storey homes with grilles on the top floor. What are they going to use? A helicopter? But no, people aren't taking any chances. So we grille up, making it hard for us to get out in case of emergency. Parents think twice about buying their children high-end smartphones because they're afraid they'll be robbed of them, and maybe even killed.

We have to employ all different types of alarms to secure our cars. I know people who have 'regular' alarm, kill switch, and still use a steering-wheel lock. Technology- wise, we're still handcuffed. Just because of the innovative ways criminals are coming up with to hack bank accounts and to gain other important information, people have to be creating more difficult passwords. The only persons these measures are hindering from getting into the account are the legitimate owners. I can barely remember the different passwords much less someone with a more porous memory.

 

MAKING MONEY BEHIND BARS

 

But recent stories I've read in The STAR have further got me scratching my head. It appears that some of these guys behind bars are making more of a living than most law-abiding Jamaicans are doing legally. Some of these inmates are making thousands from selling stuff like bleaching cream. They're making so much that they can send money to their families outside. By the way, how lame is it that the breadwinner is incarcerated? Nobody else in the family nuh work?

How do these enterprises succeed? Simple, the inmates provide the necessary bribe to the right officials. Just like that, another batch of goods passes through the checkpoints. Meanwhile, people like you are out here slaving away, probably in jobs you don't really like, with bosses you probably really don't like, and working for peanuts in comparison. Look from when teachers, some of whom tried to steer some a dem wutliss man deh away from prison, a try get one likkle increase.

 

WHAT'S THE POINT?

 

I thought being in prison was supposed to be about rehabilitation. But if people are hustling in there, what's the point? The cynical person might say if someone is doing time for murder, then we should be glad all they're doing is hustling contraband. But isn't that the kind of thinking that got most of them locked up in the first place?

Remember the videos that came out with men talking about life behind bars? Remember the Gleaner story about how some prisoners were living life behind bars? You hear about people having big, flat-screen TVs in prison and using all the latest gadgets. I would love to buy myself a 50" Smart TV but I can't afford it.

Well, guess what? If being behind bars is the only way to get this stuff, then I will go without. I may not have the 'freedom' of these guys, but I'll take the one I have. Later.

- Link me at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com