7. High Security Prisoners

Personal awareness, violence reduction
One of our consultants recently worked on a four-day long NGO sponsored programme with a group of prisoners (all murderers) in Zonderwand High Security Prison in South Africa. Called ‘Silence the Violence’, the aims of the programme are for participants to recognise, acknowledge and then work to reduce their own violence. 

Each day every individual was given a chance to speak and to tell some of his story; this came to a focus on the final day when they were asked to share their ‘secret’.  Some just told their story as a recital but those told it from the heart touched their listeners deeply – and they were the ones who made a commitment to work ( with support) through the changes required to move to adopting a non violent approach.

Telling one’s story and being heard respectfully (and non-judgementally) is a pre-requisite for personal change.  In this way one can loosen the grip of old, limiting and dysfunctional stories to make room for new and more generative stories about ourselves; a principle that is just as valid in the boardroom as it is in the prison cell.