- International Association for Human Values' Prison SMART program aims to reach 1,000 inmates in Dubai within a year
- Globally, more than 700,000 prison inmates in 60 countries have benefited from the program.
Dubai, UAE, October 11, 2018: Hundreds of prison inmates in Dubai have found new optimism to start afresh as they turn to yoga and breathe in positivity and breathe out stress. A unique program, the Prison Stress Management and Rehabilitation Training (Prison SMART), an initiative of the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) and supported by Dubai government's Community Development Authority,applies healing methods such as yoga, pranayama and other breathing techniques to help prisoners improve their mental and physical health. It aims to make a life-changing difference to people caught up in the criminal justice system.
Over the next year, IAHV aims to train at least 1,000 inmates in the Dubai with the skills that are part of Prison SMART. Globally, more than 700,000 prison inmates in 60 countries have benefited from the program, helping end the repeated cycle of violence, abuse and return to prison.
The program has been a success with prisoners in the Dubai who now sleep better, think more clearly and are beginning to take responsibility for their actions. Course participants have reported a decrease in depression, anxiety and interpersonal conflict; clarity in thinking; increased alertness and resilience to daily life stresses and improved immunity and physical wellbeing.
“Inside every culprit, there is a victim crying for help. That person is also a victim of ignorance, small-mindedness and lack of awareness. It's stress, lack of broad vision about life, lack of understanding, and bad communication that leads to violence in society,” said Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of IAHV.
“We have received great feedback from prisoners who have attended the Prison SMART program,” commented Sausan Mahmood, Specialist Social Worker of the Community Development Authority. “There is a significant change in attitudes of the inmates, especially those with longer sentences such as life imprisonment. There is a perceptible decrease in instances of violence and fighting and they have become more organized and responsible. With people from so many different nationalities, cultures and backgrounds under the same roof, Yoga and other breathing exercises help them to get along, maintain a sense of harmony and be nicer to one another.”
Prison SMART is an internationally renowned rehabilitation program that empowers inmates with skills needed to heal trauma. It provides practical knowledge to handle emotions, live to one's highest potential and contribute positively to society. It effectively reduces re-offending and assists prisoners to end repeated cycles of violence and abuse, besides helping erase their negative emotions and develop innate human values. It includes practical life-skills training to help participants become more aware and in-charge of dealing with unhealthy mental patterns with higher self-control.