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Prison SMART Europe | What is Prison SMART?

What is Prison SMART?

Prison SMART is an internationally renowned rehabilitation program that effectively transforms the mindsets, attitudes and behavior of offenders, thus aiming to break the cycle of violence in our societies at the root and reducing reoffending.

The holistic program offers innovative and effective tools with multiple benefits, including reduced violence and aggression, improved physical and mental health, better relationships, reduced substance abuse, more positive outlook, better coping strategies, and a general improved sense of wellbeing.

Through advanced breathing techniques, physical exercise, knowledge and skills training, offenders become more aware of themselves, are able to let go of negative emotions, accumulated stress and destructive behaviour, and are empowered to take responsibility for their lives. By calming the mind and reducing the impact of stress, also anger, depression, violence, and dysfunctional behaviour are reduced. Offenders become more able and willing to strive for improvement, and become more receptive to other forms of rehabilitation. They are empowered while they are in prison and prepared with some essential life skills for when they are released.

The cornerstone of the program, the Sudarshan Kriya (purifying action) technique, is a no-cost, self-empowering tool that transforms overpowering emotions and restores calm and alertness. The program teaches prisoners to deal more constructively with their often deep-rooted feelings of fear, guilt, depression, despair and revenge. Feelings such as rage, aggression and frustration make way for enthusiasm and a positive frame of mind.

Prison SMART provides a basis for self-management, increases self-confidence, strengthens human values and reduces reliance on addictive substances. The prisoners learn skills to deal with future conflict and stressful situations succesfully. The SMART program cuts through the cycle of violence as detainees become more conscious of the consequences of their actions, take responsibility, and search for the solutions to their problems within themselves rather than in the outside world.

Prison SMART provides a basis for self-management, increases self-confidence, strengthens human values and reduces reliance on addictive substances. The prisoners learn skills to deal with future conflict and stressful situations succesfully. The SMART program cuts through the cycle of violence as detainees become more conscious of the consequences of their actions, take responsibility, and search for the solutions to their problems within themselves rather than in the outside world.

As such, the prison becomes an opportunity for self-reflection and the program lays the foundation for genuine rehabilitation and reintegration into society. The participants can make use of the knowledge and the set of techniques that they learn during the training for the rest of their lives.

Prison SMART can become the component of the prison system that is responsible for the prevention and management of stress and aggression.