The Art of Living Rehabilitates Prison Inmates


BENGALURU, India, May 24, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — “Inside every culprit, there is a victim crying for help. When you heal the victim, the culprit disappears.” These words by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar encapsulate the profound philosophy driving the rehabilitation of prison inmates by The Art of Living.

Catalysing Transformation in the Criminal Justice System

The Prison Program, initiated by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in 1990, has been responsible for profound change within the criminal justice system. It addresses the intense stress faced by inmates and prison staff alike, promoting better mental health and more respectful relationships. The programme’s impact is far-reaching, with benefits including reduced depression and anxiety, improved sleep patterns and enhanced mutual understanding among inmates, as well as between correctional personnel and inmates.

In India alone, over 3,50,000 inmates have benefitted from yoga, pranayama, and meditation practices implemented in 100+ prisons. In Tihar Jail alone (Asia’s largest prison), more than 60,000 convicts and 130 prison staff have undergone these transformative programmes, leading to remarkable improvements in their mental and physical well-being.

These initiatives, which began with a focus on holistic rehabilitation, have evolved to include a broad spectrum of activities designed to address both emotional and practical needs. Since 2019, the lives of over 800,000 inmates across 65 countries have been positively impacted through Prison Skill Development Programs; with 6,500 inmates trained across 28 prisons in India alone.

Trio of Transformation: The Three-Step Approach

The rehabilitation programme’s success rests on a three-step approach:

1. Emotional Healing: At the core of the holistic, outcome-driven programmes are practices that include yoga, pranayama, meditation, the world famous breathwork Sudarshan Kriya and behavioural training. These programmes are conducted regularly, assisting inmates to alleviate accumulated stress from their nervous systems and break free from the cycle of negative emotions such as trauma, guilt, and anger. Participants learn to effectively manage negative emotions.

2. Vocational training: Providing vocational skills to prison inmates is a crucial step towards their successful reintegration into society. It equips them with the necessary tools and confidence to reenter the job market, ensuring positive contribution to their communities upon release. This approach not only offers inmates a sense of purpose and dignity but also significantly reduces the likelihood of reoffending.

3. De-stressing prison staff: Tailored programmes support the mental and emotional well-being of prison staff and law enforcement professionals, nurturing a healthier work environment. The unique stressors and challenges faced by individuals in these roles are addressed.

Certification and Job Assistance

In addition to vocational training, inmates receive certification upon completing their courses, which boosts their workforce readiness significantly. Comprehensive job assistance services are also offered to help them secure employment upon release. This fusion of skill development, certification, and job support encourages inmates to reintegrate into society and build meaningful futures.

The Road Ahead

The mission of the Prison Program is clear: to bring about a holistic rehabilitation in prisoners’ lives and impact the lives of people within the criminal justice system. By turning time into talent, the Prison Program not only transforms the lives of inmates but also brings about a positive change in the criminal justice system. Through a combination of emotional healing and practical skill development, inmates are given the tools to rebuild their lives, reduce reoffending rates, and create a brighter future for themselves and their communities.

About The Art of Living Social Projects

The Art of Living is dedicated to empowering individuals with a unique blend of innovative programmes and contemporary techniques. The organisation fosters personal and professional growth, equipping individuals globally with essential life skills, emotional intelligence, and resilience for navigating the complexities of today’s world.

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(Disclaimer: The above press release comes to you under an arrangement with PRNewswire and PTI takes no editorial responsibility for the same.). PTI PWR

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