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A small token of a prison chaplain Mission (Brs)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

   Sunday morning in the prison of Meaux, at 11:30 on my return from the chapel, a supervisor told me that someone had called on me in the "short sentences" unit. I went to the unit and was explained that a prisoner was in crisis, that it was very bad, that he did not want to see anyone other than the chaplain, not a doctor, nor a psychologist, nor supervisor, only the chaplain.
   I opened the cell of the inmate in question and, indeed, I found a man prostrated on the floor and obviously was in very bad shape. I introduced myself and he explained to me that he intended to commit suicide! He added that he could not stand it without the drugs! He has been on drugs since the age of 12. He is now 45 and he cannot do without it.
   He has a wife and a 14 year old son who wait for his return, but the pain was such that he would rather die! I asked him how long he had yet to be in detention. "15 days," he replied. It sounds ridiculous but when you are in need of drug, this feels like eternity!
   What to do? I spent a good time with him, trying the best I could to give him hope, the will to live and to fight, although it is difficult to talk to a man in crisis. Then it was time for me to leave, but not without first explaining the problem to the two guards who were there.
   Yesterday evening, I went back to the prison for my weekly visits, for sure I sought information about it. I was told that he was getting better and that until then he had not attempted suicide. Phew! I hope he will hold out until the time he will be released in a few days’ time...

Luc Schweitzer sscc