Ex-inmates share housing after release
Updated: 2011-02-23 19:43
By Jia Xu (chinadaily.com.cn)
"Room 16, Building 3, No 1008, Guangming Street, Kunming, Yunnan province" -- it's an ordinary address written on a Chinese identity card, but for Lan Wenguang, 74, it carries more meaning.
"No 1008 Guangming Street" is a shared community address of about 200 elderly people, who were once major criminal offenders serving their sentences over a wall across the street, at Yunnan No 1 Jail, according to a report on cuanwang.com. Now they live in a shared community after serving their terms, and the oldest among them is 92, and the youngest is in his 60s.
"We are good friends, we fought in prison, and we also shared many memorable things in and out of prison," said 88-year-old Li Rongguang, who lives in the courtyard and grows vegetables to make his living.
When asked why they chose to live just one wall behind the jail after finishing their sentences, most of the elderly said it's because of the shared bond they have and their uneasiness about re-entering society.
A police officer at the jail said due to their long prison sentences, inmates are usually old when they get out, and therefore, are past their prime, and they are less confident about living in open society.
"They have good manufacturing skills from prison, so we hire them to work for the prison after being released," the police officer added,“It works well for both sides."
The living facilities in this special courtyard are well-equipped, with a place for exercises and growing vegetables. These elderly residents prefer to grow their own food, as one man says, "We've gotten used to working with our hands."
"The outside life is hard for old people like me," the 74-year-old Lan Wenguang said,"But sharing a house between the prison and the open world makes me feel comfortable and good."
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