The Art of Living Foundation has recently signed an agreement with the Dominican Republic’s National Penitentiary School, to conduct Stress Management And Rehabilitation Training (SMART) programs at 12 of its New Model Prison campuses. The New Model Prison is also the largest women's prison compound in the Dominican Republic. The workshops, conducted for the staff and inmates, are already underway. Courses have been conducted for the staff in service, where over 50 people have benefited from the workshop. The Art of Living’s Senior Instructor, Swami Sukhchaitanya, accompanied by a few local instructors, paid a visit to the prison in Najayo in September, 2010. At the end of the first year of conducting courses at the prison, the project will be evaluated to measure its impact on inmates and staff.
Prison philosophy supports human dignity
The New Model Prison, which accommodates 20 percent of the inmates in the country, is based on the philosophy of respect for the human condition of detainees. The prison prohibits any humiliating treatment of the detainees, endorses the concept of human dignity and promotes the potential of people through education, work, art and sports. . As Florentin Melendez, Director of the Inter-American Human Rights of the Organization of American States said, “The Dominican Correction and Rehabilitation Centers are an example for Latin America and the world.” The United Nations has called the New Model Prison as a Center of Excellence in Latin America and the Caribbean.