Only Prisoners Begs For Freedom

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Prisons has legal codes,  ​The best known of

these early legal codes is the Code of Hammurabi, written in Babylon around
1750 BC.

The penalties for violations of the laws in Hammurabi’s Code were
almost exclusively centered on the concept of lex talionis (“the law of retaliation”),
whereby people were punished as a form of vengeance, often by the victims
themselves.

This notion of punishment as vengeance or retaliation can also be
found in many other legal codes from early civilizations, including the ancient
Sumerian codes, the Indian Manama Dharma Astra, the Hermes Trismegistus of
Egypt, and the Israelite Mosaic Law

Some Ancient Greek philosophers, such as Plato, began to
develop ideas of using punishment to reform offenders instead of simply using
it as retribution.

Imprisonment as a penalty was used initially for those who
could not afford to pay their fines. Eventually, since impoverished Athenians
could not pay their fines, leading to indefinite periods of imprisonment, time
limits were set instead. The prison in Ancient Athens was known as the
desmoterion (“place of chains”)

The Romans were among the first to use prisons as a form of
punishment, rather than simply for detention. A variety of existing structures
were used to house prisoners, such as metal cages, basements of public
buildings, and quarries. One of the most notable Roman prisons was the
Mamertine Prison, established around 640 B.C. by Ancus Marcius.

The Mamertine
Prison was located within a sewer system beneath ancient Rome and contained a
large network of dungeons where prisoners were held in squalid conditions,
contaminated with human waste. Forced labor on public works
projects was also a common form of punishment. In many cases, citizens were
sentenced to slavery, often in ergastula.

Right from ancient Greek to the highly educated Anthens to the world power Roman’s People were punish one way or the orther for their wrong doings. As a prisoner you know whatbis expected of you as soon as you arrive your ergustula or prison.

This kind of environment automatically instill in you the spirit of a slave or someone in bondage so if you have the opportunity to beg for freedom you won’t hesitate.

But throughout the story we read above those that offend are meant to been taken away to a separate correctional facility. But why is it that some great legend of our time like Martin Luther King to Mandela were taken as prisoners?

What was their offense?

Well this is not a topic of what these two mean did. I want to quick dive a little into the activities of Nelson Mandela to see whether he begged for freedom or if he ever assume the role or looked at himself as a prisoner while in prison.

In 1964 Mandela and his co-accused were transferred from Pretoria to the prison on Robben Island, remaining there for the next 18 years.[145]Isolated from non-political prisoners in Section B, Mandela was imprisoned in a damp concrete cell measuring 8 feet (2.4 m) by 7 feet (2.1 m), with a straw mat on which to sleep.[146] Verbally and physically harassed by several white prison wardens, the Rivonia Trial prisoners spent their days breaking rocks into gravel, until being reassigned in January 1965 to work in a lime quarry. Mandela was initially forbidden to wear sunglasses, and the glare from the lime permanently damaged his eyesight.[147] At night, he worked on his LLB degree which he was obtaining from theUniversity of London through a correspondence course with Wolsey Hall, Oxford, but newspapers were forbidden, and he was locked in solitary confinement on several occasions for the possession of smuggled news clippings.[148] He was initially classified as the lowest grade of prisoner, Class D, meaning that he was permitted one visit and one letter every six months, although all mail was heavily censored.[149]

The political prisoners took part in work andhunger strikes—the latter considered largely ineffective by Mandela—to improve prison conditions, viewing this as a microcosm of the anti-apartheid struggle.[150] ANC prisoners elected him to their four-man “High Organ” along with Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, and Raymond Mhlaba, and he involved himself in a group representing all political prisoners on the island, Ulundi, through which he forged links with PAC and Yu Chi Chan Club members.[151]Initiating the “University of Robben Island”, whereby prisoners lectured on their own areas of expertise, he debated socio-political topics with his comrades.[152]

Though attending Christian Sunday services, Mandela studied Islam.[153] He also studiedAfrikaans, hoping to build a mutual respect with the warders and convert them to his cause.[154] Various official visitors met with Mandela, most significantly the liberal parliamentary representative Helen Suzmanof the Progressive Party, who championed Mandela’s cause outside of prison.[155] In September 1970, he met British Labour Partypolitician Dennis Healey.[156] South African Minister of Justice Jimmy Kruger visited in December 1974, but he and Mandela did not get along with each other.[157] His mother visited in 1968, dying shortly after, and his firstborn son Thembi died in a car accident the following year; Mandela was forbidden from attending either funeral.[158] His wife was rarely able to see him, being regularly imprisoned for political activity, and his daughters first visited in December 1975. Winnie was released from prison in 1977 but was forcibly settled in Brandfort and remained unable to see him.[159]

From 1967 onwards, prison conditions improved; black prisoners were given trousers rather than shorts, games were permitted, and the standard of their food was raised.[160] In 1969, an escape plan for Mandela was developed by Gordon Bruce, but it was abandoned after the conspiracy was infiltrated by an agent of the South African Bureau of State Security (BOSS), who hoped to see Mandela shot during the escape.[161] In 1970, Commander Piet Badenhorst became commanding officer. Mandela, seeing an increase in the physical and mental abuse of prisoners, complained to visiting judges, who had Badenhorst reassigned.[162] He was replaced by Commander Willie Willemse, who developed a co-operative relationship with Mandela and was keen to improve prison standards.

By 1975, Mandela had become a Class A prisoner,[165] which allowed him greater numbers of visits and letters. He corresponded with anti-apartheid activists likeMangosuthu Buthelezi and Desmond Tutu.[166] That year, he began his autobiography, which was smuggled to London, but remained unpublished at the time; prison authorities discovered several pages, and his LLB study privileges were revoked for four years.[167] Instead, he devoted his spare time to gardening and reading until the authorities permitted him to resume his LLB degree studies in 1980.

When Nelson Mandela reflected on his Robben Island experiences on returning there in 1994 he said: “Wounds that can’t be seen are more painful than those that can be seen and cured by a doctor. One of the saddest moments of my life in prison was the death of my mother. The next shattering experience was the death of my eldest son in a car accident.” He was refused permission to attend either funeral.

The notorious island, within sight of the city of Cape Town and Table Mountain, acquired its name from the seals that once populated it in multitudes – robben being the Dutch word for seal. Its three centuries as a prison island and a place of banishment were punctuated by a period as a leper colony.

A warder’s first words when Nelson Mandela and his ANC comrades arrived were: “This is the Island. This is where you will die.”

They faced a harsh regime in a new cell block constructed for political prisoners. Each had a single cell some seven foot square around a concrete courtyard, with a slop bucket. To start with, they were allowed no reading materials.

They crushed stones with a hammer to make gravel and were made to work in a blindingly bright quarry digging out the limestone.

Fellow prisoner Walter Sisulu spoke of a day Nelson Mandela’s emerging leadership among the inmates was displayed in a rebellion over the quarry: “The prison authorities would rush us…’Hardloop!’ That means run. One day they did it with us. It was Nelson who said: ‘Comrades let’s be slower than ever.’ It was clear therefore that the steps we were taking would make it impossible ever to reach the quarry where we were going to. They were compelled to negotiate with Nelson. That brought about the recognition of his leadership.”

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Lakotai Williamchi

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