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Watch: 'Everybody knows what happens in prison'

After 14 years in limbo, William fears prison will force him back into drugs

 

On Monday, William Agius is expected to face justice for a crime he committed 14 years ago, fearing that a prison sentence could simply re-route him to the drug habit he has since shunned.

"My fear is that if I'm sent to prison then along the years I will be imbued with anger. Imagine waking up daily in a cell with no aim in life, because you have nothing to do,” Mr Agius told today’s edition of Times Talk.

Asked whether he feared resorting back to feeding his drug habit if incarcerated at Corradino, the 32-year-old was categoric: "Yes I fear it. Everyone knows what goes on (in prison), it's freely available".

Mr Agius faces a minimum of six years jail for the 2003 crime where he was caught ecstasy drugs with a street value of €28,000 in Qormi. The punishment is expected to be hefty because he was caught close to a school, even though he was caught on a Saturday when students were not around.

Since then, Mr Agius underwent a successful Caritas rehabilitation programme, has not touched drugs in years and even built a business. His case has triggered off a nationwide petition and prompted Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to urge politicians to put their heads together to find a way to save him from a prison sentence.

Mr Agius said he does not expect preferential treatment but he would like to see the authorities acknowledge that he voluntarily successfully completed a drug-rehabilitation programme and rebuilt his life from scratch.

I don't expect anything in return, but maybe people can listen to people like me and maybe we will ask if our punitive system make sense

"I don't expect anything in return, but maybe people can listen to people like me and maybe we will ask if our punitive system make sense. Aren’t we meant to have a court to ensure there's peace with society, don't we have prison to ensure it teaches a lesson and ensure past mistakes are not repeated? Are we reaching those objectives?"

Asked how he felt people with such a criminal conviction should pay for their crime, he said the authorities could tailor a punitive system which would help the criminal integrate into society while helping others in need.

"I want to do my part to help people who are going through the same problem I went through. That's part of my recovery."

He said he chose to continue living life as normally as he could despite being told repeatedly that his sentence was about to be decided.

"But now I have to prepare myself, to give up my family, my partner, my work... of course you end up giving up.”

His sentence is expected to be handed down on Monday.

Only last week, a drug victim was spared a jail term in a ground-breaking judgment under the recently introduced Drug Dependence (Treatment not Imprisonment) Act.

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