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LUISS Guido Carli

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Volunteering in prison to leave prejudice behind

Enrica Massari talks about her work experience with Made in Carcere

Enrica Massari LUISS

"In the beginning I was a bit worried about encountering this universe, but throughout my experience I appreciated the prisoners’ urge to have contact with the outside world and to simulate real-world daily life.” Enrica Massari, a fourth-year Law student at LUISS, chose to work with Made in Carcere, one of the volunteer programs organized through VolontariaMENTE. Interested in penitentiary structural reform, Enrica worked with prisoners at the Casa Circondariale di Lecce to learn more about prison life and challenging stereotypes.”

Luciana Delle Donne, founder of Made in Carcere, put Enrica in charge of logistics and organization of the innovative cooperative, Officina Creativa. Every day, Enrica contacted suppliers of materials and fabric remnants in addition to supervising the production of bags and accessories. “I learned that meeting work objectives requires: solid working methods, a cohesive team, strong leadership and respect for others’ thoughts along with strong motivation, selflessness, and flexibility.”

Made in Carcere LUISS

After overcoming her initial fears, Enrica found before her a group of curious women that desperately wanted to share their stories and life experiences. “Each prisoner had memories, a story, a past. They shared so much with us, showing us photos of their families and revealing their past experiences. Empathy was fundamental; thanks to this constant reciprocal exchange I came to the realization that in life there is always a second chance. Just like the phoenix that rises from its ashes, people that have made big mistakes can be reborn and rebuild their futures.”

Day by day, Enrica felt that working and building relationships not only helped the prisoners to break up their monotonous daily routines, but to create a new outlook: “Every day you come in contact with people that have made mistakes. But in their eyes you can see their motivation to redeem themselves. They want to learn from their errors, to change their lives and start from zero.”

Enrica Massari Made in Carcere

During the month she spent in Puglia, Enrica experienced truly exciting moments, such as witnessing a prisoner’s release on her last day with the program. “Seeing this boy breathe in the air of freedom, full of enthusiasm to rebuild his life, I was hit by a sudden sense of joy despite the sadness I felt due to the conclusion of my internship.”

According to Enrica, the most important part of her experience was feeling like a part of a small family that genuinely took care of each other. “Every new experience and every person you meet has something to offer and to say. Thanks to Made in Carcere I learned the importance of human dignity, and  that no matter what happens or how many mistakes we make, we can’t lose our personalities. Furthermore, I learned that you can judge how humane a society is by how they treat their neediest members.”