Raphael Rowe was wrongfully charged with murder and sentenced to everyday living in a maximum security jail at the age of 20. In the course of his time in a nine-foot by 6-foot mobile, bodily action and meditation had been the only escapes from confinement.

“It was critical to my survival that I did anything possible to continue to be match,” Rowe tells Men’s Journal from his residence outside London. “As the days handed, convicted for crimes I didn’t commit, the only way to purge the anger was rigorous physical exercise.”

The convictions in opposition to Rowe had been at some point overturned, but not right before he used twelve several years of his adult everyday living guiding bars. Once totally free, he targeted his strength on a occupation in investigative journalism. Subsequent a effective run with the BBC, he moved to a subject shut to residence, discovering the humanity among prisoners in a docuseries referred to as Inside of the World’s Toughest Prisons for Netflix.

Rowe spoke with Men’s Journal about the classes he realized whilst locked up, modifying the prisoner narrative, and working with isolation.

Can you describe your environment in jail soon after the conviction?

Staying a 20-calendar year-old guy at the time right before I went into jail, I was on the fringes, cigarette smoking and ingesting. I did some sports teaching. I studied taekwondo. But the moment I bought locked up, operating out became definitely crucial. Owing to the severity of the crimes they charged me with, I was put in a cage inside a cage. Being in a maximum security jail intended I was on my individual for the most portion, isolated for 23 hours a working day. For just one hour they moved me to a much larger wired cage, about 20-foot by 20-foot, the place the other prisoners would seem in. In their minds I was the most “dangerous.” I had nearly no interaction with other human beings all through that time. When they moved me, I was escorted by two jail guards. There had been CCTV cameras almost everywhere.