When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
Thay has spoken so many times about cultivating our understanding and compassion, also for those who commit terrible acts, also for terrorists. If we look deeply we see the suffering that causes people to act in such an inhumane way and instead of wanting to revenge, punish and hurt this person, we can help him or her transform.
Prisons offer such an opportunity to help criminals to transform their suffering, get in touch with their humanity and with life again and hopefully decrease the chances that these people commit other crimes one’s released.
This following article about an island prison in Norway seems to do just that! It prepares inmates for responsibilities and life outside prison. Reading this made me think right away of Thay’s sharings on this subject! I hope that this could be the kind of prisons we will have in the future. That this will be the amount of compassion a country can have for it’s suffering citizens that make (huge) mistakes. That this can be what societies offer themselves: A very low reoffending rate, because that is really what could help heal society and benefit us all right?! Seems to me like the most logic goal of emprisonment. Get criminals off the street and not have them back again as criminals. Anyways, see for yourself: