Inmates, Jail Authorities and Academics Applaud Peace Education at San Antonio Jail
San Antonio, Texas: A Peace Education Program (PEP), based on Prem Rawat’s message of peace and sponsored by The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF), has been one of the most popular classes at the Fabian Dale Dominguez State Jail in San Antonio. Jail authorities have reported a significantly positive impact upon the over 1,000 inmates who have participated in the program since it began in 2007 and a marked reduction in recidivism.
The success of the program in San Antonio has recently attracted the attention of the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Texas, San Antonio (UTSA), where particular attention is being given to addressing the problem of repeated re-incarceration of released offenders.
In 2012, Prem Rawat spent two days in San Antonio, first speaking to the PEP class at the jail on January 25 and the next day at an event called Peace on the Inside, hosted by the Criminal Justice Department at UTSA. Speaking to the inmates who had written to him of their appreciation of what they had discovered for themselves through the PEP classes, Mr. Rawat said, “Ultimately, you did not give up on yourself. And that’s the only thing that’s going to allow you to transform and rise above like the phoenix from the ashes. Not from crumpled or slightly burnt but from the ashes rises the phoenix. Be the phoenix.”
After his talk, Prem Rawat responded to questions and expressions from nine of the inmates.
Prem Rawat was the keynote speaker at the Peace on the Inside event at UTSA for professors, students and representatives of local groups with an interest in criminal justice. Panel member Dr. Michael Gilbert, an expert in the new field of restorative justice, said of the PEP program, “We think something very positive is happening here. Offenders seem to find clarity. They seem to find understanding of themselves and a personal sense of inner peace, all of which may be needed for them to break destructive cycles and behavior patterns that have led them time and time again to jail and prison.”
In his address, Prem Rawat spoke of how honored he felt to have been invited by the inmates at Dominguez Jail to speak to them and how moved he was by their comments. Asked by a UTSA student what advice he gave to the inmates, he responded, “Not to forget themselves, because while their liberty might be gone, their humanity nobody can take away from them. They need to make that humanity prosper in their lives, to make sure that it grows.”
At the end of the event, State Representative Joaquin Castro awarded Mr. Rawat with a state resolution and the title of Honorary Mayor of San Antonio in recognition of his work with the Dominguez Jail inmates and his continued work in helping all humanity.
TPRF-sponsored Peace Education Programs are taking place in 25 prisons in 10 countries with over 3,000 inmates participating each month, and there is a growing demand for the program internationally.
Monica, the sister of Lisandro Martinez, a former inmate at the Dominguez State Jail (shown below) who attended the PEP, shakes hands with Prem Rawat as she thanks him on behalf of her brother. (expanded view of top photo)