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Sep 2, 2021

“No Win” – Teen Inmate Seeks Redemption through Poetry

Last night we told you about Ministers Musa and Bernard’s visit to the Belize Central Prison where they engaged a group of Southside Belize City men currently incarcerated under a state of emergency.  From the Belize Central Prison Auditorium, New Five’s Paul Lopez accompanied the ministers on a brief tour of the Wagner’s Youth Facility on the same compound. There, our reporter spoke with a fifteen-year-old inmate to learn more about how he is responding to the rehabilitation strategies.  He also shared his dreams for the future and the poetry he is now writing. Here is that exclusive.


Voice of: Inmate, Wagner Youth Facility

“I came here and I found out that what my powers and my skill were when I started writing songs and poems. I started finding out that I have more potential than I thought I had in my life, more than I thought I was capable of having.”


Paul Lopez, Reporting

This is the voice of a fifteen-year-old inmate at the Wagner’s Youth Facility inside the Belize Central Prison.  Due to his age and protocols, we were not allowed to get his name or show his face.  But we did get to hear his poetry.


Voice of: Inmate

“I have a poem that I entitled “no win.” I don’t want you to interpret the message wrong, but it is just me expressing myself on paper. It goes like this. Backed in the a corner, alone and very confused. Tired of running away, my manhood has been abused. Not my choice to be so blunt, but you must fight fire with flame. I allowed myself to run once, and I was haunted by the shame. If I must kill I will, and if I must do it again I would. But the situation is a no win.”


William Dawson, Director, Wagner’s Youth Facility

“What we do is rehabilitate the young men when they are here. We provide them with the care and attention that they need, and the support that they need to become better individuals in life.”


Paul Lopez

“How important is discipline to you? Is it that you were introduced to discipline here, or you were getting discipline outside and is now being introduced to a new level of discipline?”


Voice of: Inmate

“When I was out, I had discipline but I wasn’t actually taking it in, I came here and I take it in. I was shown love, but maybe the type of love I was shown I take it for granted. But here they show you love two ways, love-love and though love. It is either you get it the good way or the hard way. The hard way is one of the way I had to learn and I am still in the process of learning. I had my ways when I don’t get my ways I would break out, but when I sit down and think it really wasn’t the way I should react.”


William Dawson

William Dawson

“Quite frankly, a lot of the young men come to us hopeless. They are uninspired. They are being used on the outside for this low self-esteem issue that they possess. They come here and, like I said, this is a nurturing environment; this is a family-oriented setting, something that they lack in society. So, what we do we have a family-oriented approach and  once they are here and understand they are their brother’s keeper, and Mr. Dawson is like their father, and Mr. Sinclair is like their uncle, they come to terms with what we are doing and they are going to be a part of the winning team.”


While these inmates are coming to terms with decisions that landed them behind bars, many of them are piecing together their future and keeping hope alive of one day living outside these prison walls.


Voice of: Inmate

“Being here is not something we were looking forward to. I didn’t say well one day I am going to reach in Prison. It just happened you know, without we wanted it. It is something we did, either pick up a gun, robbed somebody or murder or something. After we did it we know we are going to reach here. But it is not something we had panned in our lives. We didn’t come here because we don’t have a dream, or hope in life. Things happen, mistakes. My dream is to be an artist, a singer, a rapper.”


William Dawson

“I can tell you frankly, what we have been able to observe over the years, is that a lot of the young men don’t have adequate support when they leave, over four years of studying the data, we have lost around ten to thirteen young men from gun violence.  Up to recently, the young men that were killed in Belize City were products of Wagner Facility, so even more so we need to have this support system set up on the outside.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

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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