Current Affairs
Former prisoner does not know where he is going to live – has no food or clothes

Everyone yearns for freedom, however many prisoners realise that when they leave prison it is not going to be easy.

Roderick Brincat, who spent five and a half years in a cell, says that when he was released, he did not know where he was going to live and had no food or clothes. The situation was not easy and at one point he wanted to go back to prison. He hopes that through his art, which he learned to do while he was in prison, he can find a better life.

“The last shirt I owned was given to me by a friend because I told him I was going to Valletta. He told me here, take it, so that you will look good. That is a great thing. But that is how we get our clothes.” Asked whether he has anything to wear, Roderick says, “No, other people always have to give me clothes.”

Roderick Brincat left prison seven years ago. He still has no home and feels hungry. “I ended up in situations where I even  ended up eating cat food.”

He admits that he often thinks of committing another crime to go back to jail because he says that at least there he has somewhere to eat and sleep.

“You get out of your cell and you have to call the warden, sir. The bell rings. You stand up straight. You call him sir. You know that is your place. That is the reason. That is why people like me get lost in the system and that is why we are destroyed.”

He says that, from childhood, his life has never been easy. “I always had problems in my life because I had no money. You live on just €2. You just drink coffee. You go to band clubs where people offer you a coffee and things like that. I never had anything. I was always used.”

He started abusing drugs. “I used to inject my foot. Always using, always wasted. You feel so alone that you just keep sliding down even further. You’re alone – and you end up being really alone. You no longer trust anyone.”

Roderick was sent to jail for theft and aggression, among other charges. “It was a place where I really felt I had reformed.”

He remembers the moment he was released, and for the first time, rode a bus. “I started laughing when I heard the bus talking. It was something new for me because I only remembered the old buses.”

Roderick found a good soul who offered him a place to stay to exhibit his paintings after learning how to paint in jail. “I wish to donate the paintings for those in need, and wish to give another two to the prisons.”

He thinks of the paintings which he is exhibiting at a house in Valletta as if they are his children. ” I spend a lot of time with them. I spend hours creating them. They are everything for me.”

Roderick, who is 32, is hoping that the paintings will help him to save and open a bank account for the first time in his life, with the ultimate aim of having a roof over his head.

He says that he is sorry for what he did, and is hoping to be given another chance in his life. “I can say that I was a fool, and I will admit it. A real fool. Maybe it’s because I never had a point of reference in my life.”