The Prison Program was introduced in Tihar Jail in 1999. More than 120,000 inmates from prisons in India have undergone the Prison Program with spectacular results. In Tihar Jail (South Asia’s largest prison) alone, around 58,000 convicts have benefited from the program. Special programs have also been conducted for the prison staff to cope with the stress owing to the nature of their job.

There are nine jails in Tihar Jail complex that are divided area wise or court wise. Jail number 1, 3, and 5 are part of the old jail. Jail number 5 is for youths of 18-21 years old and jail number 6 is for women. Every month, two programs are conducted, and follow-up sessions are held every weekend. Every year, two programs are conducted for the prison staff, and almost 130 staff members have undergone the Happiness Program.

“I want to lead a life of a totally changed man. I also want to provide good education to my wife and two children.”

– Altaf Hussain, after attending our eight-day Prison SMART program

The Prison 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 program has boosted the efforts to reform people who have deviated to crime and inspired them to become useful citizens of society.

Our consistent work for almost two decades now has left a mark on the jail authorities as well. A testimony to this is that in jail no.1, 4 and 5, separate wards have been designated as The Art of Living wards so that the inmates may do Sudarshan Kriya without any disturbance.

“I found The Art of Living Program 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

How does the journey look so far?

  • Over 58,000 prisoners have undergone the Prison SMART program since 1999
  • Programs for jail authorities conducted bi-annually and almost 130 members have undergone our introductory program
  • A 30-member team currently working with the prison authorities to conduct programs
  • 120 inmates have undertaken our YLTP program to become teachers themselves
  • Multiple vocational training initiatives to provide prisoners with skills to earn a livelihood

SRIJAN Project

Ms. Vanika Gupta, an Art of Living trainer associated with the Prison Program, initiated ‘SRIJAN,’ a project to channelize hidden talents productively. SRIJAN which stands for Social Rehabilitation of Inmates in Jail and Aiding the Needy 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.

SRIJAN produces paper bags, office stationery, lampshades, photo frames, boxes, etc. These are then supplied to companies such as TATA, HCL, Mehrangarh Museum, Udaipur, Rajasthan. SRIJAN also provides products to other companies like EXL, BPO, CSC, Steria, Convergys, Amex, Accent, 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). The products have also been exported to Austria and Singapore.


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.

“In a pessimistic state of mind, I was introduced to the Happiness Program. It was a revelation, an eye-opener. As I had left the dreams of being released, 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 Hukiram.

How can you contribute?

The Prison SMART program is a highly intense program that involves providing consistent care, attention and mentoring to the participants. With the right kind of support, our existing programs across the country can be scaled up.