Vision & Mission

“Expand your vision and see that inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help. 

If you heal the victim, you will eliminate crime from the planet.”

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder, Prison SMART

The mission of Prison SMART is to contribute to the creation of a stress-free and violence-free society.

The vision behind Prison SMART is that crimes are often committed out of ignorance and because of accumulated stress in the nervous system. Neither at home nor in school, however, do we learn skills to deal with stress and negative emotions such as hatred, jealousy, greed, anger or frustration. Individuals for whom it is difficult to handle these stress factors, turn more easily to violence and crime. The teaching of practical techniques in combination with the underlying knowledge of how our mind, emotions and body function, and the special role that breathing plays in this, can greatly help people to find a constructive and less damaging way (for themselves and others) to cope with difficult situations.

From the above follows that Prison SMART does not regard criminals or prisoners only as offenders, but also as victims who can use help. Prison SMART offers practical knowledge to free the victim inside the criminal from the vicious circle of violence.

Prison SMART is rooted in human values, such as care for life, responsibility, and service, and starts from the human dignity of prisoners. Prison SMART holds that universal human values are present in every human being, but they manifest less when stress and ignorance increase. By reducing stress and ignorance, Prison SMART creates the space and the conditions for the universal human values to come to the surface. Rather than focusing on the negative things or analyzing mistakes from the past, Prison SMART focuses on the positive that is already present, potentially or manifested.

The detention period often leaves deep scars in the emotional, mental and physical well-being of prisoners. Often the circumstances of detention increase violence tendencies and negative emotions, such as anger, aggression, bitterness, depression and frustration. Prisoners have little control over their circumstances or future, can suffer from lack of self-confidence, and are often suppressed by worries, fear and despair. The circumstances of detention can lead to the paradoxical situation that some prisoners are more dangerous when they are released than when they were incarcerated, both for society and for themselves. The detention period can reinforce destructive and criminal behaviour, as such fuelling the very activity it seeks to deter. Freedom from the impact of incarceration does not end at the moment of release. The harm due to detention can accompany ex-prisoners in their entry in society. Some return to drugs, violence and crime, and find themselves not before long back behind the bars. Prison SMART wants to break this vicious cycle of violence in society by working on the level of the deepest causes.

“Today I regret deeply not having done this course long before. Had I done it earlier, I would not have landed in this state.”

High Security Inmate, Presidency Correctional Home, Calcutta

“Caught in a vicious circle, I always ended up in despair. But this Program has changed me totally in an unrecognizable way, and what I thought was impossible, has become possible! Thank you! Life has meaning once more!”

Inmate, Russia



Prison SMART also wants to reduce and avoid the loss on valuable “human resource” due to crime and detention. It aims to transform valuable human resources and strengthen these for the well-being of the individual and society. Prison SMART opines that positive individuals with a progressive outlook form the foundation of a vibrant and thriving stress-free and violence-free society.

Prison SMART does not interfere in questions of penitentiary law, but does emphasize the importance of the rehabilitation component during the period of punishment. Punishment in and by itself does not make much sense if the mentality, attitude and behaviour of offenders does not change. Prison SMART regards the successful rehabilitation of prisoners as a fundamental criterion for a successful detention system and an important responsibility of society.