The Prison SMART program was introduced in Tihar Jail in 1999. More than 120,000 inmates from prisons in India have undergone the Prison SMART program with spectacular results. In Tihar Jail (Asia's largest prison) alone, around 48,000 convicts have benefited from the program. Special courses have also been conducted for the prison staff to cope with the stress owing to the nature of their job.
There are a total of nine jails within Tihar jail, that are divided area wise or court wise. Jail number 1, 3, 4, 5 is the old jail. Jail number 5 is for youths of 18-21 yrs old. Jail number 6 is for women. Every month two courses are conducted and follow up sessions are held every weekend. Since 2000 to date, 48000 prison inmates have done the course. Every year two courses are conducted for the prison staff and almost 130 staff members have done The Art of Living Introductory Course.
SRIJAN - Social Rehabilitation of Inmates in Jail and Aiding the Needy
Ms. Vanika Gupta, an Art of Living trainer associated with the Prison Program, initiated ‘Srijan’, a project to channelize hidden talents in a productive way. ‘SRIJAN’ not only channelizes the talents of these inmates into a productive arena but also releases their stress. It gives them a set of skills and lets them earn a respectful living.
Two workshops are conducted in Jail number 3 and 4. 20-25 prison inmates are involved in the project from each cell. The prison inmates who have been released are still with SRIJAN and are paid for their work. So far 175 inmates have benefitted from the project.
SRIJAN produces paper bags, office stationary, lampshades, photo frames and boxes etc.
These are then supplied to companies such as TATA, HCL, ‘Sabka bazaar’ a departmental store – ‘Mehranagar’ museum, Udaypur, Rajasthan. SRIJAN also provides products to other companies like EXL, BPO, CSC, Steria, Convergys, Amex, Arcent, Polaris, IBM, Tech Mahindra, Perot system, ST Microelectronics, GE money and GE capital to name a few. The products are also provided to The Art of Living Divine Services and the Sri Sri Rural Development Program (SSRDP). Products have also been exported to Austria and Singapore.
"I found The Art of Living Course very easy to practice on a regular basis and very effective. Inmates and officers have derived immense benefit by way of physical, mental, spiritual and social well being." - D.R. Karthikeyan, Former Director General, National Human Rights Commission
The Prison SMART program has been effective with prisoners who are high security risk terrorists, dreaded criminals, dacoits and murderers. The program has had a positive impact on the mentally imbalanced and highly aggressive. The cooperation and efforts extended by The Art of Living has been a great boost in our endeavor to reform the misguided men and women to deviate from the path of crime and to become useful citizens to this country.
”In a pessimistic state of mind, I was introduced to the basic course of The Art of Living. It was a revelation, an eye opener. As I had left the dreams of being released behind, so also the fear of not ever going back outside also left. I stepped forward into a new consciousness, which told me that I would eventually be released with dignity from the stain upon my reputation. Through prayer and meditation I drew upon inner reserves of strength and courage which propelled me to join SRIJAN, the handmade paper products project begun by The Art Of Living." - Sunil s/o Sri Hukiram