Majorca Daily Bulletin

News | Balearics

"The real objective of prison is to take someone’s spirit and break it ..."

| Palma |

Cameron Douglas, back in Majorca.

04-08-2018 | Pere Bergas

Cameron Douglas is the son of Michael and Diandra Douglas. In August 2016, he was released from prison, having served seven years for drugs offences. He has now flown back to the US after a two-week holiday with his girlfriend and their daughter. He stayed at the Douglas S'Estaca estate and spent time with his mother. It had been his wish, once he had completely regained his liberty (he was in a halfway house for a time) to return to the island he had known as a child.

He was very happy to have been back and to have revived pleasant memories of his childhood and adolescence. He came with his "wonderful daughter Lua and girlfriend Viviane". He said that he was collecting material to make movies. He aims to be a producer, but he has also been working on a book about his experiences with drugs, ones that landed him in jail.

"It's almost finished. It should be ready for publication in around eighteen months time." He spoke about what it was like to regain his freedom. "You don't realise what it is like to be free until that freedom is removed. When you recover it, the little things of life are what you notice; ones that you hardly valued before. Everyone takes their own path in life. And if it is one for which you pay a high price, then you can appreciate the quality of life because of everything you have suffered.

"The biggest price you can pay in life, as with myself, is to be in a place for seven years that you can't leave. When you lose it, you recognise what freedom is and what it means to you and to those who love you. If you pay 80,000 euros on a car, you know the price you have paid for that car. If you spend years of life for something, it doesn't have a price. But it gives you the wisdom to value things, especially those for which you didn't really care before."

To teenagers who are thinking of taking drugs, he explained that the 13 to 17 year olds are at the greatest risk. He started when he was that age. He would like to be able to talk to them about the dangers, just like a friend of his who started on drugs at the same time. "His whole life has now changed. He created a movement, The Whosoevers, which extends throughout California and into other states. It seeks to anticipate the problems that teenagers can have with drugs."

He admitted that he could talk for ages about how he survived prison, but he just said that there were some difficult times and ones that were less difficult. He saw how prison can end people's lives, but appreciated that prison can also be a place to learn. "It depends on you, but you can get an experience. Not everyone is the same, though; we're all different.

"Prisons in the US are known as being revolving doors. There are as many people leaving as there are entering. The system is loaded. Many who go free, go back. People who leave jail broken and have few chances of work, they just fall again and so they re-enter prison. I'm one of the lucky ones. To have a family that from the very first was supportive. The support has continued now that I am free. With 99% of prisoners, they don't have that."

Although it is difficult to explain, he referred to having gained a new perspective and new knowledge, but he was unable to attribute this to prison having been about rehabilitation. "They say the idea is rehabilitation, but it isn't. The real objective of prison is to take someone's spirit and break it. That's what it's like in my country. If some people are able to overcome the obstacles created and to reintegrate, there is an incredible life ahead of them. But this won't be because of what prison offered, it will have been because of what the individual was able to extract from the time spent."

His mother, Diandra, said that he was very thankful to have survived the years in prison and to have been able to return to the place he knew as a child. Moreover, he was able to do so along with his daughter, his partner, his younger brothers and sister.

"He was very happy. Is he conscious of the fact that he is free? Oh, I think so, although I have not asked. I try not to look back and remember those years. Quite the opposite.

"I've spoken with him about the present and the future, about the many opportunities that there are in life. Among them is freedom, possibly the most important of all. Talking about the past doesn't get you anywhere.

"Myself, I am also very happy and at peace. But I would be lying if I were to say that those years had not been difficult. I know that you should never look back. If you do, you stumble. You have to look forward, but I recognise I was left a little exhausted by the experience.

"I'm now just trying to enjoy his freedom. He is free. He's alive and he's in good health. It's amazing to see the way that he has been able to overcome that time. As he has said, 99% of people who are in jail are left broken. He has always had the support of the family. Many people in prison do not have that.

"During the two weeks, Cameron visited various parts of the island. Just to enjoy it. The La Beata fiesta, for example. We went to the market in Valldemossa and bought vegetables. We did a lot of sailing. Cameron showed the others how to waterski and dive. We were in Deya, listening to the Pa Amb Oli Band.

"And of course he remembers everything. He was always very happy here. The memories he has of Majorca are very beautiful."

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