Sunday, March 1, 2009

Prisoners and their plight

I had read somewhere that in some prisons in South East Asia and even in some prisons in Nepal, they were starting this new practice of teaching spiritual concepts to prisoners. When I read about it, I was a bit young, say 14 or so. When I thought about it at first glance, I thought it was a pointless practice. Yet when I thought about it deeper, I thought this was a great thing. I admired the people who did it.
For some reason, I was thinking about this piece, some weeks ago. Especially here, in the US, you get to hear about a lot of violence. You read about people who are prone to violence, who are born and raised to be dominating, people whose very nature have become hateful and misanthropic. And these same people are the ones who concentrate in prison cells and are in contact with each other day in and day out. Now of course, they are put in prison so that they learn that their actions have consequences.
However, if they realized that concept at a profound level, they would not be there in the first place. This system we have probably does let some people see how they are wrong. Some of the people might actually get it. But most of them, whose lives are most probably ruined any way due to the adverse record on their background will probably never really see the right way.
It's about these people I speak. Granted some prisoners might be so twisted in their thoughts, so prone to their darkest sides that many people will refuse to call them humans or having human qualities. That discussion I leave for some other day.
Now going back to my piece, if governments all over the world organized to have spiritual guidance programs in prisons, perhaps we would be better off. By spiritual guidance, I mean, teachings that any religious books encourage. Perhaps the one which is the most effective is Buddha's teaching. But it can be anything which has some moral/spiritual worth.
I feel there is such a need because after all, these prisoners when they get together, the tendency to be more violent increases simply by association. Not only that, after they get out of prisons, they will be living among us. Wouldn't the world be a safer place if they were taught some values?
Isn't that the whole point of having them in prisons?
Perhaps I am making castles in the air. Perhaps I am being too naive and naively compassionate.
Every man/woman deserves the punishment that their actions got them. I agree. But we do need to make this world safer as well and not be chained to just one point of view.
Having convicted felons in prisons is Right. I do not argue that. But if they are to be let out, there should be a spiritual/moral value we need to instill in them. It is good for the individual and society and hence humanity in general.


"Controlling my feelings far too long
Forcing our darkest souls to unfold
And pushing us into self destruction
They make me, make me dream your dreams
They make me, make me scream your screams"

'Showbiz' by Muse

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