Transformative Journey within Prison Walls – Reflections on a Life Skills Training Program
The Social Justice Department, in collaboration with the Probation Office Kollam, District Jail Kollam, Special Sub Jail Kottarakkara, and the National Institute for Training and Educational Research, orchestrated a life skills training program for jail inmates from February 21 to March 8.
Having conducted training sessions for various individuals across diverse fields for the past seven years, it was a groundbreaking moment to extend this opportunity to jail inmates for the first time. Every word spoken had to be carefully chosen, ensuring that no provocation occurred. Entering the prison with a myriad of thoughts and prejudices, the initial skepticism was quickly dispelled during the first session held on February 23, just three days into the program at Kollam District Jail.
The overwhelming participation and positive response from the inmates in that first session changed my preconceived notions entirely. It set the tone for subsequent sessions, infused with increased enthusiasm and energy. Some doubted the impact of the training, expressing that it wouldn’t make a difference. However, such skepticism is rooted in the misconception that all individuals within the prison system are irredeemable. In reality, many are there due to a single moment of anger, excitement, or resentment that altered the course of their lives. Similar incidents could happen to anyone. Success lies in one’s ability to navigate such situations with moderation.
Within the prison walls, there are individuals yearning to leave behind past mistakes and rebuild their lives. It is a challenging yet crucial task to empower them to make positive decisions and lead fulfilling lives, free from the judgment, accusations, isolation, and reprimands they might face upon reintegration into society.
Every member of the NaITER family played a vital role in achieving our mission—penetrating deep into the minds of these inmates and guiding them through a transformative journey. The inmates’ response at the end of the 13-day training program reflected a notable change. However, the ultimate question remains: Will society and families be ready to accept and embrace this transformation?
As a trainer, Prabodha 22 stands out as an immensely satisfying training program. The journey into the minds of these individuals, fostering positive change, remains a powerful testament to the impact of holistic training and the potential for rehabilitation and societal reintegration.