We have all made mistakes at some point in our lives, but life proves to be even more difficult when your mistakes fall under a different category from others—behaviours that make you a pariah and or land you behind bars.
But if there’s one thing that’s commendable, it’s when one is able to own up to their mistakes and show signs of change. Last week Friday, we attended a youth talent exhibition at the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF); it was an eye opening experience.
Naturally, we were not sure what to expect. These are individuals who committed crimes some possibly even more heinous than we knew. But the moment we entered the building, everything changed.
What we saw was a large group of immensely talented young men and women—many of whom are full of remorse and sorrow.
As we listened to their poems, songs, and speeches, we realized that some of these young men appeared to want genuine change.
As one inmate sang “Reflection/Prison Walls”, he accepted that he (and fellow inmates) had done wrong but pleaded with others to give them a second chance.
“We swear, we could be better people,” he cried.
In a speech given by Verne Garde, Director of the BCF, he stressed on the importance of a programme of this kind as it moulds the inmates into better beings, and that hopefully, when they are freed, they can remember the important lessons that they were taught and work on becoming better individuals.
“Since April is Youth Month, I wanted to do something for our youth at Bordelais so that they don’t feel left out,” Corporal Kerma Bertrand, organizer of the event explained to YO! in an interview.
“It was mainly for the inmates at the juvenile unit hotel and our juveniles at the female unit,” she said.
The event closed with a speech from youth advocate Eleanor Joseph who won the award for Youth of the Year in 2015 at the National Youth Awards. In her speech, she provided them with seven key elements necessary for change and reminded them that they are talented individuals who have the potential to change for the better.