benefited through special programs across 36 countries
About 48,000 convicts
in Tihar benefited from the Prison Smart program
Around 1800 prisoners
and 1300 reformed militants provided vocational skills training
The story of Rita Singh of Champaran, Bihar is truly heart wrenching. In December 2005, fifteen years into her marriage, Rita and her husband were attacked by a group of over 40 Naxalites. She survived the attack but her husband got killed. Despite being a part of a gruesome murder she mustered the courage to become an Art Of Living teacher. She went on to conduct programs with the same group that had murdered her husband.
At the end of the course, some of the participants cried and expressed their sincere regret for the crime. She motivated them to leave violence and embody compassion and love. “We have a special relation. They listen to me and I am motivating them to change their ways” – she smiles as she recounts her story.
Our programs for prisoners and people with a history of violence aim at helping them to break out of the regressive cycle of crime. Working with various prison authorities and armed forces we have conducted programs for over 500,000 inmates so far.
Our programs for prisoners and people with a history of violence aim at helping them to break out of the regressive cycle of crime
Projects in Prisoner Rehabilitation
There are two primary challenges that need to be addressed during rehabilitation of prisoners:
First, is the sheer size of prison population which overwhelms the correction system. From a policy perspective, the primary mechanism of the system is isolation and deeper thought into rehabilitation is required.
The second issue is the attitude both of the prisoners and law enforcement officers. Most prisoners have never received any guidance develop a strong belief that they will never be able to get out of the regressive cycle of crime. Prison staff and law enforcement machinery on the other hand is overworked, and stressed out due to constant work in challenging conditions. Over time they get emotionally hardened and it becomes difficult for them to undertake concerted efforts to change the attitudes of those who have been incarcerated.
Our approach towards prisoner rehabilitation works at three levels:
First, at an emotional level where we conduct Prison SMART programs to enable inmates to break out of the cycle of negative emotions. We understand that it takes repeated programs to help someone come out of extreme emotions like trauma, guilt, and anger. Hence in jails like Tihar, with which we have been associated for a long period of time we regularly run Advanced programs.
Second, at a material level, we conduct Vocational Trainings for inmates so that they can go back to earning a living through dignified means.
Third, conducting specially designed programs for prison staff and others in the law enforcement agencies to help them de-stress, thereby enabling them to become more efficient.
Our programs have prevented thousands of prisoners from relapsing into a life of crime. Here is a snapshot –
Conducted Prison Smart programs across 36 countries and 500,000 inmates across the world have been benefited
In India, the program has been taught in 100 prisons to 120,000 inmates
In Tihar Jail, around 48,000 convicts have benefited from the program
Special courses have also been conducted for the prison staff to cope with the stress at work
We aim to ensure that every person who has to resort to crime is given an opportunity to change and start living a meaningful life.
Many inmates whose lives we touched have now become our teachers and working alongside us to bring a positive change in the society.