Benito Graffagnino was a troubled child whose upbringing made him a notorious drug dealer and smuggler. He blames his troubled days for growing up in different foster homes, where children feel unloved or not good enough. Despite having a challenging childhood and ending up in jail, the mental health activist has made a name for himself and attracted applause from the local administration for positively influencing inmates.
Benito Graffagnino was born in Bristol, England, and grew up under the British foster care system. He started doing drugs and smuggling them to friends and neighbors at a tender age. Sooner or later, he found himself facing the full wrath of the law, where he got a three-year sentence for drug dealing charges. Even in prison, he was still notorious, which led to him serving his sentence in seven different jails in England.
At one time, he even got physical with a prison officer at Portland Prison, which earned him solitary confinement. While in solitary, Benito reflected on his life and desired to change his life for the better. He soon enrolled in a Youth Offenders rehabilitation program that taught young convicts how to reform their lives. He also furthered his education and completed his GSCEs and other courses.
Today, the name Benito Graffagnino has several titles attached to it, including mental health activist, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He has partnered with magazines, podcasts, and media houses to push for inmate rights and the need for criminal rehabilitation. In a recent interview, the Italian-English businessman described how seeing other convicts abuse drugs in prison inspired him to do something about it.
“I was a prisoner who knew pretty much everyone on the wing and wha was going on, and although i never got involved there was a serious problem with buying and selling Spice.I overheard conversations of how Spice was entering Guys Marsh and was good friends with a guy who sold it on the wing.Spice is so powerful and dangerous with bad side effects.Some of your so-called friends would give you the drug and think it was hilarious when the side-effects kicked in,” revealed Benito in an interview with Georgie Darling, a lifestyle copywriter.
Graffagnino chose a different path when he came out of prison and transformed his life to do better for his community. He has authored two non-profit books detailing his personal experiences in the foster care system and prison. These books have helped ex-convicts and those doing their time in prison resolve to live better. He has also contributed to articles on the importance of convict rehabilitation for drug use and alcohol abuse.
His experience with drugs and the problems that befell him due to smuggling made him aware of his surroundings, helping local authorities shun out drug culture in the neighborhood. At one time, he petitioned to have a local hostel in Bristol closed down due to extensive drug use, alcohol abuse, and neglect from staff. His petition was successful because inspectors visited the residence and ordered improvements, failure to which it would be closed down. Benito also goat recognition from local Members of Parliament for his dedication to improving the lives of the homeless and former drug users.
His inspiring story continues to philanthropy work, helping better low-income communities in Peru, where he currently lives. Alongside his travel business, the Englishman has put up an initiative dubbed ‘Fight for the Pueblo’ to provide free food, drug rehabilitation, and mental support services to slum dwellers. He is also working on a new project, ‘Casa de Comedor,’ a restaurant where individuals from low-income neighborhoods can access free food.
Benito Graffagnino is an excellent example that a challenging upbringing, troubled past, and the ex-convict title are not the end of the road for individuals. With the right rehabilitation services and mental health support, people with troubled pasts can overcome their fears and addictions and become a change in society.