/ Kamil Sleszynski / Blog


They often waste their freedom at their own request, over something stupid. While serving the sentence, they promise themselves that they will never again make a mistake and will not return to the prison. However, this resolution is not enough. A long-term sentence leaves its stamp on a man that they have to struggle with for the rest of their lives. Habits that help to survive in the prison reality become a burden when it comes to living a normal life. This burden makes the longed-for freedom a state in which it is hard for them to find themselves and only a few manage to succeed. The majority choose a more simple solution. They return to previous behaviours, to the familiar environment and in the end land behind the bars once again, because only there they feel sure and safe. Only there they do not have to make any difficult practical decisions. The whole process starts from the beginning. It does not have to be like that, though.

This photographic series of works tells a story about the prisoners in Poland. I am interested in their opinion on freedom, what do they feel about it, why many of them couldn’t live outside the prison and came back again. These photographs I took in the prisons and in the centers that provide support to the ex-prisoners in the northeast Poland.

Kamil Sleszynski (1982) is a documentary photographer from Bialystok in Poland. He is working on long-term projects, focusing on intimate stories.