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Prison Ministry

Prison Ministry (Rehabilitation of Ex-convicts & Prisoners)

The ministry among prisoners and ex-prisoners is one of the social activities of the Claretians in India, especially in Kerala. In 1992 the Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference (KCBC) invited Fr. Alexander Kureekattil to join the prison ministry under Justice, Peace and Development Commission. Fr. Alexander began this new ministry as the Assistant Director and then he was appointed as the State Director of Jesus Fraternity. Later Fr. Cyriac Kollamparampil joined him as the spiritual director Snehashram, a renewal center at Vettukad where the first stage of ex-prisoners? renewal program is conducted. The executive meeting of Jesus Fraternity invited the Claretians to take up the second stage of ex-prisoners renewal program. Our mission among the prisoners and the ex-prisoners began on September 7, 1994 in a rented house on Mother Teresa road, at Edapally in Kochi. This house, named as Shanti Bhavan, was used for the rehabilitation of those people who have complete their jail term but are not wanted by anyone and have no place to go to.

In order to enhance the activities of Shanti Bhavan and to open up new avenues of missionary work like preaching ministry and family counseling, we purchased a house at Pathadipalam in 1998 as the residence of our missionaries and it was named Shanti Nivas.

The activities of Shanti Bhavan rehabilitation center are designed for the integral development of the person who completes his jail term. It includes spiritual exercises like prayers, meditation, retreats, recollections, yoga, bhajan services, experience sharing etc. At the psychological realm the inmates are provided with counselling - both personal and group, group dynamics, programs on personality development, stress management, training in positive approach to life, motivations, resource management and therapy according to the individual needs of the inmates. At the physical level the inmates receive regular physical exercise, learning of new skills, manual work, cooking exercises etc.

During the renewal process, the animators at Shanti Bhavan visit the homes of ex-prisoners and prepare the ground for re-establishing the lost family ties. At least twice a month the families are visited. Once the inmates show the desired maturity to be sent for work outside they are helped to find out some jobs, which enables them to gain financial security for their future. It is really a difficult task to find people who are ready to offer job for these people with criminal backgrounds. Often they are placed in different fields such as daily workers, security personnel, salesman, etc. When the inmates are able to settle in their life and show the kind of maturity to lead a family life Shanti Bhavan helps them to find life partners for them and arrange marriages. Already 45 such marriages have taken place through our efforts. Through the help of some funding agencies and the generous hearts of the people around Shanti Bhavan was able to provide housing for around 40 families.
The relationship between the centre and person rehabilitated is continued by follow-up programmes, family visits and occasional gatherings. This seems to be encouraging factor for them in the struggle to lead a normal life.

Activities

Visit to the prisoners and families of the convicts
Rehabilitation of ex- prisoners
Counselling, career guidance
Settling the inmates in life through marriage reuniting them with families and relatives
Providing housing
Education of the children
Follow up programs like retreats, gatherings, renewal programmes etc

Director

Fr. Panackakuzhyil Mathew Asst. Director
Fr. Kunnath Jacob  

Centers

Shanti Bhavan(Rehabilitation Centre for Ex-prisoners)
Changampuzha Nagar P.O.
Ernakulam - 682 033, KERALA
Tel: 0484 - 544355





Karukutty- 683576, Angamaly, Ernakulam Dt., Kerala, Tel. 0484 2613434, 3233666
E-mail : cmfstp@gmail.com, Website: www.claret-santhome.org
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