Being incarcerated can be an emotional whirlwind and if left unchecked with no calm way to release stress, inmates can often release pent up stress and frustration in violent ways.
Prison SMART is an organization that works with probation departments, family and juvenile court systems, administrators and correctional officers of penal institutions and law enforcement departments.
This program is provided for by the International Association For Human Values, which is dedicated to the development and promotion of human values in society.
When stress is not dominating an individual, the core human values innate in all human beings become manifest, such as service to others and compassion.
The mission of International Association For Human Values Prison SMART is to make a life-transforming difference in the lives of all people working in, or incarcerated within, the criminal justice system. Prison SMART teaches skills that reduce stress, heal trauma, and provides practical knowledge of how to handle negative emotions in order to live to one's highest potential and contribute to society in a positive way.
Program developers and those who implement the program are dedicated to reducing offender recidivism and ending the repeating cycle of violence and abuse that often is attributed to life in and around prison.
Prison SMART programs are adapted to the needs of the correctional institution, justice department and social agencies involved. Stress reduction is the main goal of Prison SMART and this is gained from teaching participants breathing control, which helps relieve stress and negative emotions. In addition, the course includes practical life-skills training to help participants become more aware, and more in-charge, of unhealthy mental habit patterns.
The course is delivered in 6-8 days with about 18 hours involved total. Participants learn a personal practice that can be used on their own daily to further establish the benefits. Participants are supported in continuing the practices through weekly follow-up sessions that reinforce what has been learned so that they get the maximum benefit.
Ideally the program becomes a partner with the institution/agency as a stress and anger management component of the facility. The program is cost-effective and, with regular practice, its benefits are sustainable.
As participants begin to learn how to reduce and manage stress in their lives, the benefits include--better sleep, clearer thinking, reduced depression and anxiety, better able to adapt to daily stress, improved physical well-being, more positive outlook and freedom from past scars.
For more information on this innovative healing program, here is a partial list of United States programs that participate in Prison SMART.