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Amanda Knox has shared the prison habits she had to unlearn after her release in 2015.
After travelling to Perugia, Italy, when she was just 20 years old, Knox was wrongly convicted for the murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher in 2007.
Prosecutors accused the former student and her boyfriend of the time, Raffaele Sollecito, of sexually assaulting and brutally killing Kercher, with the tabloid media sensationalising the story and painting Knox to be a sort of ‘sex-crazed femme fatale’.
However, this all changed in 2011 when she was acquitted and definitively exonerated by the Italian courts in 2015, while a man named Rudy Guede went on to serve 13 years for the crime.
The author and activist has now opened up about her time both inside and outside of prison and the unfathomable impact the case has had on her life in an episode of The Innocence Podcast.
While her circumstances changed, the 34-year-old activist and author discussed how the reverberations of being imprisoned for a crime she didn’t commit continued long after she was freed.
Turning the conversation towards her release, host Kylie Pentelow asked Knox about the things she had to unlearn that most people take for granted.
“I spoke to one man who found it very difficult to open a door because for 12 years, he always had doors opened for him,” says Pentelow, to which Knox responds: “That one really resonates with me.”
Knox then goes on to elaborate on her experience, stating: “The simple practical ones are infinite. Depending on how long you've been in prison, you've just lived a very, very different life.
“So just dealing with interpersonal connections and communication styles and doing your taxes and there's a million different ways that you just haven't had access to the world like a normal person has and so you have to unlearn a lot of prison habits and you have to relearn like a baby.
“How to do very basic things like budgeting, which you've not had to do for decades in some people's cases.”
But one of the biggest issues for Knox is what she describes as the ‘now what?’ question.
Having spent so much time locked within four walls, exonerees get used to taking things day-by-day and fighting for their innocence, so going back to a ‘regular’ life and planning for the future can be hard.
“If you've been fighting for your innocence single-mindedly for years of your life, after that who are you? What do you do with yourself? What do you have to offer the world?” she says.
“Especially if it's the kind of situation where you feel both a desire to share what you've gone through, but also a desire to just keep it to yourself.”
Earlier on in the episode, Knox described how over-stimulating it was in the first week after her release, something many ex-prisoners have to face after spending a majority of their time with a repetitive schedule and minimal social interaction.
“The first week after I got out, I was so overwhelmed by how much stimulus and interaction that I suddenly had access to,” she says.
“I was used to talking to people I cared about for only an hour at a time, six times a month. And suddenly I was with everyone I loved all at once, and they're there all day long…
“It was overwhelming, to be honest. I almost felt like I needed to stare at a blank wall just to catch up. And I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, I was just overstimulated for the first week.”
While it’s been a long and difficult journey, Amanda has rebuilt her life since her exoneration and learned not to take criticism she still faces online personally.
Knox and her husband Christopher Robinson announced the birth of their first child last year, and today she uses her story as a way to inspire others who have been failed by the justice system and the media.
“I think the burden I worry about is that I can't live up to everyone's idea of me, even if it's a positive idea of me,” she says before adding, “But I can be a small person in the void who hears their voice.”
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