08/31/2010, 00.00
INDIA

Karnataka, over 6 thousand Christians involved in the rehabilitation of prisoners

by Santosh Digal
Prison Ministry India The organization was founded 25 years ago by two seminarians and has 30 centres across the country. It occupies over 300 thousand prisoners and their families. A volunteer: "Helping prisoners to experience the love of God."

Bangalore (AsiaNews) - More than 6 thousand Christians all over India are involved in the rehabilitation of over 300 thousand prisoners. The volunteers are part of Prison Ministry India (PMI), an organization founded 25 years ago in Bangalore, Karnataka, by two seminarians, Francis Kodiyan and Varghese Karippery.

"We help our brothers who are in jail - said Mgr. Peter Remigius, head of PMI - not all of them are really criminals. Many have been unjustly accused. 70% of prisoners under trial in India and most of them remain in jail for a long time without being tried by a court. One of the saddest things, then, is that 65% of prisoners is made up of young people. "

The volunteers, spread among 30 rehabilitation centres in several states of India, not only visit the prisoners and organize a program of rehabilitation, but take care of families and children of prisoners. "We are delighted to see our volunteers - said Fr Josekutty Kalayil, national coordinator of PMI - who take care of the least of society. "

Prisons in India are often scene of violence and brutality. In most cases there is no rehabilitation. Relapse is very high, mainly because of growth in drugs abuse in prison.

According to PMI volunteer Joshy Eapan, "detention should be a period of transformation in the life of a prisoner. We seek volunteers to help prisoners to experience the love and mercy of God. In this way, they can rediscover their dignity and improve their lives".
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