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Prison Rehabilitation Programs

Mukta Gaikwad Aug 23, 2020
Prison rehabilitation programs empower the convicts to be a part of society, and thereby lead a life of integrity and normalcy. Read on to know some of these programs that help them cope up for better.
It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.
I realized, somehow, through the screaming of my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn't sound like much, I know.
But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it's all you've got, that freedom is an universe of possibility. And the choice you make between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life. ~ Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts
A quote so profound, comes from a felon who was convicted for robbery and smuggling heroin. According to Roberts, he escaped his solitary confinement, but only regretted it in retrospect. He smuggled himself back in jail to serve the remaining sentence so that he could be reunited with his family.
However, not every convict may have the ability to see himself in a positive perspective and change his life for a new beginning upon stepping out of jail.
Retribution does not always deliver redemption. It takes guidance towards a reformation of attitude and thought, to live a life of integrity and honesty. Prison rehabilitation programs are one way of helping convicts revive their lives, to live it with honor after they are set free.

Rehabilitation Programs for Felons


Resocialization is a method of rehabilitation, which is often used to reform inmates. These programs are divided into two segments, and towards the end of it, inmates are absorbed into military units, which also gives them a form of employment.
The first part of this program includes ripping the inmates off their independence and identity by prescribing insensitive treatment.
The inmates have to give up all their belongings, adhere to a uniform dress code, hairstyle, and a social conduct. Their independence is taken away by strip searches, replacing their names with serial numbers and fingerprinting.
Once they are completely broken down and devoid of their original self, the second part of the program works towards molding their thoughts all over again. The next phase of the program includes giving these inmates rewards and punishments, which makes them value a little independence they receive for adhering to conformity and authority.


Prisons across the world use public libraries as a method to rehabilitate the inmates. Providing the incarcerated opportunities to read, opens up a whole new world to them, that would otherwise remain locked up. It is believed that books provide the inmates an opportunity to seek education, recreate, and get an insight into the legal battles.
As most of the convicts have to live with the public after leaving the prison, they should be encouraged to use public services. Allowing inmates to read books goes a long way in helping them and their families to cope up with their fractured lives.


Religion plays a large role in restructuring the lives of several inmates. The concept of Prison Ministry believes in supporting religious and spiritual beliefs of the inmates, guards, and the staff. This gives them a faith to hold on to, in times when they need it the most.
Many times, this gives the felons a new purpose in life. It helps them to re-establish the lost beliefs in themselves, share their uplifting experiences with other inmates, and cope up with the brutality of prison life.
Tihar, the largest jail in South Asia, situated in the village of Tihar, has helped its inmates live a better life over the past few years. A program known as Vipassana, a popular Buddhist form of meditation, was introduced to this jail.
Over the ten days of this course, conducted by Mr. and Mrs. S.N. Goenka, the prisoners learned to see themselves in a different light. Spiritual awakening, has helped the inmates reform themselves for a lifetime. Convicts are disturbed minds that can think only in a distorted way.
The thinking has to be restructured through such rehabilitation programs, so that they can once again be a part of the society in a way that it helps both.