Experiences penned

2019-03-12 06:01
Father Babychan Arackathara.

Father Babychan Arackathara.

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After years of being involved with prisoners and ex-offenders, the former director of Prison Care and Support Network in Pinelands, Father Babychan Arackathara launched a book based on his experience at Constantia Glen yesterday, (11 Monday).

About 2000 copies were expected to be printed and hit the shelves of local book stores.

The book is titled ‘Light Through the Bars’ and gives advocacy for prisoners and ex-offenders with intentions to repent and become better persons in society but find themselves side-lined due to their past.

Arackathara says over the years, he studied the behaviours and had direct interactions with those on the wrong side of the law. He discovered that an intervention was needed.

According to him, some of the people who end up in jail could have been saved in different circumstances and could change for the better should an opportunity be granted. “You will find that they were victims before becoming perpetrators, maybe they were abused and had been exposed to traumatic incidents, mostly from dysfunctional families with no proper guidance,” says Arackathara.

He says the society is not going anywhere by proposing long-term sentences for offenders. He called for plans and solutions to equip offenders for the life outside prison.

Arackathara says about 70% of people who are released from jail end up going back for similar crimes due to lack of support system in the society. He says it makes it difficult for the offenders to adjust.

His book highlights such issues and educates the public about being civil and forgiving towards ex-offenders.

“Readers will also get to learn more about the reality of being an ex-offender, finding ones’ self in prison because of circumstances and difficulty of dealing with consequences, as well as the struggle of returning and being judged in the community,” he says.

Arackathara says this is narrated using direct voices of the ex-offenders, giving an insight about their lives. “I felt obliged to write and tell a story, raising awareness and beating the stigma around the offenders and ex-offenders as well as providing solutions to the issues, promoting restorative justice,” he says.

He says the book took him a year to write as he had a pile of stories collected during his prison ministry over the years.

Another launch will take place at Archdiocesan Chancery in the CBD on Wednesday 20 March. The book will be sold at R160 and proceeds from the launches will be used to support training of prison spiritual workers and restorative justice facilitators.

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