Bible Words

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” John 15;13
“I was in prison you visited me “Mathew 25; 36 “Remember this who are in prison as though you were in prison with them “Heb. 13; 3
If anyone is caught doing something wrong, you my friends who live by the Spirit mush gently set him right. Look to yourself each one of you; you also may be tempted. Galatians 6;1

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Fr. Sebastian Vadakumpadan
"1. Rehabilitate a prisoner today, better the world tomorrow"
"2. Rehabilitate a prisoner today, save a potential victim."
"3. Help a child of a prisoner, prevent a potential criminal"
We are not essentially different from prisoners whom we visit in prison. It is only circumstances that distinguish us and we mush be grateful to God for these circumstances.
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3R theory

The “three R theory” for rehabilitation of prisoners

If conducive atmosphere is provided for any prisoner, he/she can rise up to a normal standard of living. Every prisoner has an ardent desire to lead a better life in society. But society is not prepared to accept a prisoner, and the prisoner is not equipped to face the challenges of society. Release, renewal and rehabilitation are the three main factors, which play vital role to equip a prisoner to lead a normal life.

Release

In ordinary sense of the word, it is an act by which a prisoner is freed by the government. Release, in this context, is the outcome of an ongoing process in which a prisoner gets various positive strokes, which facilitate to develop hope, attitude of forgiveness and love especially towards those whom they hate and to view the positive aspects of the whole universe.

Hope in life: when a person enters the jail, his hope for a bright tomorrow is shattered. One develops the attitude of dejection. They feel the whole society; including their kith and kin view them as a “criminal”. It is not easy to bear such a stigma in life. At this particular juncture, a prisoner needs a person to help him/her to help themselves, to instill hope into their lives. This process could be initiated through different Medias, like moral instructions, counseling sessions and audio-visual methods, leading to mental, physical, emotional and spiritual relaxation.

Forgiving love: revengeful attitude towards the society and the persons responsible for the punishment inflicted on them is a problem, which haunts them. Such an attitude weakness the whole body and mind of a prisoner. There should be a guide, who has won the confidence of the prisoner to help the victim to forgive even in imagination those whom he/she hates.

Strengthening the will-power: when a person has lost his believe in self, his/her mental power is very weak. They have to be helped to regain the lost strength and energy. Positive suggestions could be a very effective way of restoring the lost vigor at all levels.

Self transformation: if one is determined to shed off his\her old life style, which has been perverted and criminal by nature, he or she could be motivated for higher goals in life. The best agents, who could cater to such needs of a human being, will be committed voluntary organizations.

Renewal

Renewal is the second stage of rehabilitation. It means to put new life and vigor into a person to restore him/her to the original condition. Here a released prisoner is motivated to undergo various kinds of training to face the challenges put forth by the society.

The mental resetting: it is the most important factor during this period. Old lifestyle is mostly the sum total of negative attitudes. Through mental resetting, released prisoner is motivated to inculcate positive attitudes towards life. They are instructed to use new vocabulary instead of old, which has always been negative like, tit for tat, revenge and hatred.

Letter writing: a released prisoner who undergoes the renewal process is motivated to write letters to those whom he/she hates. It is indeed a tough task. Gradually, a prisoner understands hatred is like poison in their life. Hence this attitude should be eradicated. After forgiving in imagination, one has to ask for forgiveness by writing letters to those concerned persons.

Visualizing good in others and self: often a prisoner tends to be pessimistic towards oneself, life situation and persons associated with it. A released prisoner has to be taught that every human being is an embodiment of positive elements and optimism should be emphasized. A simple method that could be used to induce such attitude is, each person is encouraged and motivated to express minimum three good qualities of his/her fellow beings.

Work therapy: is another important factor in the renewal process. Persons grow only when they use their energy for creative things. Criminals or prisoners use most of their energy for destructive activities. In order to counteract such tendency, work is very effective, where one expresses his or her creativity and gets involved in constructive activities.

Prayer: plays a vital role in the renewal process. The awareness of the effectiveness of prayer is to be experienced in the life of a prisoner. Personal prayer for at least half an hour daily is a highly encouraging and sustaining factor. The idea that the saints’ are not perfect human beings, but reach perfection through struggles and challenges of life is an impetus for it. Such thought and example of life histories are highly motivating source in the life of a prisoner who is struggling in hope for a better and decent life. God’s grace does wonders in one’s life. God experience diverts a person to speak, see, and do good things in life. One begins to dream new life with a new vision and perspective.

Living in the present: living in the past is the basic nature of a prisoner. Living in the present means “face the reality as it is”. Through play therapy and awareness therapy, every released prisoner gets a chance to get in touch with oneself and the reality of the given moment. This method helps better to face the challenges of life situations as they are.

Confidence in self image: inferiority complex is a major setback in a prisoner. Through active participation in cultural and entertainment programs, help one to get rid of such ill feelings, which in turn help the person to face the main stream to life in society.

Messages of the nature: every small and existing animate and inanimate things of the creation can communicate powerful messages to one’s life. This calls for openness towards the nature in life and to respect it. This process brings down the stress and strain of one’s life situations.

Family apostolate: visiting the family members to understand the situation of a prisoner and encouraging them to accept the prisoners as they are, is a crucial step in the whole process.

Rehabilitation :

Rehabilitation is the last stage of prisoners upliftment program. Here a prisoner is being initiated for a normal, social life by re-training and coaching.

Search for job facilities: has the prime importance in the process of rehabilitation. This is the most difficult task, because our society is not yet ready to accept the person or allow him or her to resettle in life.

The re-integration into the family: is another important thing to be done. In the renewal process, the animators begin to visit the homes of prisoners and prepare the ground for re-establishing the lost family ties.

Contact with the local police: every police station has a K.D. list. After the completion of six months renewal period, we get in touch with the local police and request them not to harass them, who are prepared to start a new life. Local people also should be motivated to appreciate and accept the ex-prisoners.

Follow up: authentic and reciprocal relationship between the center and person should be activated by follow up program, visits and gatherings. This would be a strong motivating and highly sustaining factor in their struggles to lead a normal life in society.

PMI has around 850 units all over India, with around 6000 volunteers. It has established 28 rehabilitation centres across India for released men, women, youth and children. The national office is at Bangalore, and there are four regional offices. All the activities are conducted with the help of well-wishers and benefactors. The Mumbai Unit of PMI was started in 2001. The volunteers visit the prisons and detention centres in the city of Mumbai. They organize medical camps, awareness programmes, skill enhancement workshops, etc., for prison inmates. They also help rehabilitate those who have been released, as well as reconcile them with their families.