Writing conversation: 42 years in prison

Never will I forget the story of this man. He spent forty two years in prison. As a youngster he had stolen a bicycle to go to the funeral of his mother, a prostitute. One thing led to another, prison, holding up banks, more prison. All parole refused.

Forty two years later in a moment of desperation he says the word “help”. A feeling like the effect of ten valiums comes over him. He finds the courage to write one more request for parole to one of the strictest judges who decides to give him one last chance. He meets his future wife. Now he is telling his story on air. Not an ounce of bitterness. “I was wrong,” he says simply. I sit close to our radio as a policeman phones in, “You’re the reason people in my job keep on going” he says. It’s the only time in ten years Neil leaves the studio to come downstairs and talk to his guest, who is there with his wife. I treasure the book“42 ans en prison” given that day by Gilles Thibault to Neil.

Catharine McKenty

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