July 14, 2015. 10:40
CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | Contact
Not long ago, Jai Waterman local made some “pretty stupid decisions”.
A wild night of reckless drink driving landed the Maroubra local in handcuffs, after crashing his mum’s Tarago into the shopfront of a local post office.
He was sentenced to three-months in the infamous Silverwater Correction Centre, and as the 19-year-old explains, prison his gave him a lot to think about.
“I look back and realise… I really found myself in prison, I learnt a lot of things,”
“Before I got sent there, I was just so stupid. Drink-driving, what the hell was I thinking?”
Unfortunately, as Jai points out, his ‘rehabilitation’ did not involve him learning the importance of abiding the law – even though the 76-year-old judge that sent him there was certain it would.
“It was more about meeting some people who had gone down the same path… I grew up without a father and prison was really the first place I found male role models,”
“My mates and I were always trying to make something of ourselves, but there is an art to this stuff… I needed a mentor, and I found plenty of them in the pen.”
Jai says while his stay in the heritage Sydney prison was relatively short compared to most, he met a large number of older male mentors from a diverse mix of ethnic backgrounds… Who were each able to teach him something.
“The Asian inmates taught me a lot about patience, the Middle-Easterners taught me a lot about family and loyalty… But I owe everything to the Aussie guys in there, an up-skill in crystal meth manufacturing was exactly what I needed”
Mr Waterman is now living a lifestyle quite different to the one he embraced prior to going to prison.
Jai now spends his time between his penthouse in North Maroubra and an anonymous three-bedroom fibro house in Liverpool. The young entrepreneur says he couldn’t be happier with how things turned out.
“It was either go to jail for three-months and avoid talking to anyone, come out and fail miserably at finding a job… or go in there, get to know the place and learn more about the world they work in.
“It’s just networking at the end of the day”
Jai, now worth an estimated $900,000 – says he sometimes misses the wild old life, but he also realises it was time to grow up.
“I was off-the-rails, I needed some guidance. And although most people might not realise it, prison is the best place to find those kind of life skills”