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Jan 29, 2020

The Lives of the Young Men at Wagner’s Youth Facility

A group of at-risk young men and women headed to the Wagner’s Facility for a firsthand experience of life behind prison walls. There they heard from the teenaged inmates on the harsh realities of incarceration.  The visit is part of a programme at different high schools to discourage negativity and crime; and instead, chart a life forward for the youth rather than fall into the grips of crime and violence.  The sobering experience gave the youth good reasons to choose freedom. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

The young men of Wagner’s Youth Facility are on a transformation journey. Once members of society, these twenty eight young men now live behind the prison walls. One remand for different crimes such as murder and robbery, today the young men presented themselves as living examples as what not to do. Vulnerable youths from James Garbutt SDA School, Frank Lizama Training Center and Gateway Youth Center in Belize City heard testimonials from the incarcerated youths.


William Dawson

William Dawson, Director, Wagner’s Youth Facility

“We are trying to get the young people on the outside understand that they need not to continue into the negative activity. They need to pay attention. Listen to their parents and teachers and avoid coming to prison.   The guys from Wagner’s are giving testimony today as to the troubles and tribulations that they face in their lives and their new approach while they are there about knowing that they are sorry that they loss their freedom. So they are insisting to the young people n the outside to cherish their freedom.”


The testimonials focused on the young men’s journey from their lives in society to being residents at the prison and what they are trying to do to change their lives.


Resident, Wagner’s Youth Facility

“I have a lot of struggles that some don’t have. Us, we look out for we. Those are some of the things we struggle with. We have a lot of problems, all kind of problems.”


William Dawson

“The two young men who gave testimonies today have came to us about a year or two ago and both charged with capital offence and the day they came with different attitude. What happened while they were here is that we showed them love, we nurtured them. We instilled values and great morals in them and now they have a different perspective on life. It is reflecting in their behavior. Both young men are sitting on the Kaina Online High School right now and are doing well. They have been promoted to fourth form.”


While it is the hope that today’s message will live on with the youths as they grow in an unforgiving world, Director of the Wagner’s Youth Facility stressed on the importance of the family.


William Dawson

“One of the great issues that we face with young people right now is the lack of proper parenting and a lot of them come from poverty stricken community and they have very low self esteem issues. So it is very easy for them to get influenced and caught up in negative activity.  So the testimonies today are towards the young people in the outside and my guys are trying to explain to them avoid bad company and keep on the straight path and try to think positive and surround yourself with positive people who will encourage them and allow them to grow as strong independent young people.”


Reporting for News Five I am Hipolito Novelo.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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