当前位置:首页 > 国内监狱



  • 来源:
  • 发布时间:2018-08-06
  • 字体:






  中国日报 周文婷

  Female prisoners are being rehabilitated via classes that emphasize mother-daughter relationships. Zhou Wenting reports from Shanghai.


  Mary, who has been a prisoner at Shanghai Women’s Pris-on for 10 years, is looking for-ward to the big event of her year — a visit from her mother, who will travd from the Philip-pines within the next few weeks to spend 40 precious minutes with her.





  The 36-year-old, who preferred not to disclose her real name, was given a suspended death sentence in 2008 after being stopped with a consignment of heroin by the customs in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

  Her defense was that she had been offered a lucrative assignment, but insisted that she didn't know what was in the bag she was asked to carry.

  She said her feelings are different from when her mother came to visit her at the prison just after she was jailed.


  “I misunderstood my mother’s love for me, and I blamed my failings on her absence dur-ing my childhood and adoles-cence when she was working away from home," said Mary, who is due to be released in 2031 after several reductions of her sentence.





  Change of attitude


  Her change of attitude is largely due to classes about maternal love offered by the prison ,she said. The classes focus on helping the prisoners express gratitude to their moth-ers, and become responsible mothers themselves.


  “I was deeply touched when the mothers of 30 inmates were invited to the prison to hug their daughters last year. I couldn't help missing my mom then, and I became determined to mend our relationship." recalled Mary, who began call-ing her mother regularly and then proposed a visit。







  According to Chen Jianhua, governor of shanghai women’s prison, almost every women’s prison in the country uses the concept of maternal love as a way to educate and reform inmates, but in the past five years it has been employed in many different forms at her prison, which houses women from 18 countries in addition to Chinese nationals.


  “Although they speak differ-ent languages and have diverse cultural and educational back-grounds, maternal love is a shared thing,” she said,“Even if someone is not a mother, she has a mother. Even if she has never felt a mother's affection, she must be thirsty for it. We hope motherhood wiil work as a force to encourage the prisoners to always be upstanding and responsible, and for some, to break the cycle of family tragedy .”


  The prison, which was opened in 1996, provides inmates with pamphlets in Chinese and English that contain poems depicting maternal love. The prisoners read the books in class and are asked to recite some of the poems. They also read novels and watch movies with the theme of mother-daughter bonding.





  Annual highlight


  An annual highlight is when the mothers of 30 selected inmates visit the prison on or around March 8 to celebrate International Women’s Day with their daughters. The visits have been a feature of the pris-oners' lives since 2014, after three mothers were invited in 2013 as a pilot.


  “A simple hug can solve many problems for mothers and daughters who have had poor relationships and found it hard to apologize on the phone," said Huang Yin, director of educa-tional affairs at the prison.


  “Some inmates said, ‘My mother didn’t come but I felt like my mother was also here. I wanted to hug my mother, too'” Huang said.


  The Mother of an inmate surnamed Liu was one of the three invited to the prison in 2013.

  Before they were reunited that day, Liu believed that her mother was keeping a distance between them, especially as she asked Liu to send letters to her grandparents’ house rather than the family home.


  The 33-year-old, who was convicted of fraud, believed her family was ashamed of her, and was not aware that her mother had been invited to visit the prison on the special day.


  “As I stood on the stage read-ing an essay I had written about the poor relationship between us, my mother walked onto the stage and hugged me. That broke the ice in our relation-ship." she said.

  Liu said they didn’t talk much that day, but she began to share details of her life in prison with her mother in letters.







  “Some fellow inmates, who will be in prison for another one or two decades, repeatedly urged me to be nice to my par-ents when I leave jail." said Liu, who is scheduled to be released in about two years,"It feels like they think they will partly be able to realize their dreams of spending good times with their own parents through me."


  During the celebrations around International Women's Day, inmates who have won plaudits for good behavior have their dearest wish granted, such as wearing their own clothes to have a photo taken with their mother, or having dinner together with no one else around.

  “For some inmates serving long sentences, a photo with their mother is especially meaningful. Some mothers are too old to wait for the day their daughters will be released from prison," Huang said.

  The activities have inspired some prisoners to write letters of apology to their parents and their children.

  "To many inmates, their child is their hope, something to hold onto and live for. Without that, some would abandon them- selves to despair." Huang said.













  Artistic approach


  In addition to mothers' visits, prisoners are encouraged to ad in plays and musicals, and devise dances based on the theme of maternal love.

  The warders fed the per-formances will inspire the inmates to improve their rela-tionships with their families and live positive lives.









  “Foreigners are usually more outgoing and are generally good at singing and dancing, so the foreign inmates really enjoy taking part." said Li Na,a warder who works in the section where many foreign prisoners are held.

  In October, an original musi-cal called The Sound of Love premiered at the prison in front of an audience of inmates and officials from the Shanghai Prison Administration and the Shanghai Women’s Federation.

  The show was performed by inmates and warders, with the involvement of professional directors and composers.






  Huang said the storyline is based on the inmates' own experiences: It focuses on a young woman who refuses to listen to her mother’s advice. She commits credit card fraud to pay off an overdraft and then misappro-priates funds from her employer to repay the money. Eventually, she injures several people in a fight when she attempts to grab the evidence and conceal her crime. While serving a prison sentence, the protagonist decides to try to rec-oncile with her mother after realizing how much her mother loves her, and becomes deter-mined to live a good life.

  Huang said every inmate, irrespective of whether they were a performer or a member of the audience, could find a reflection of herself in the musical performance.



  Fresh emotions


  Mary, whose father aban-doned the family when she was young, said the musical helped her to understand the depth of her mother’s love.

  She said she used to hate her mother because she often worked away from home, and as the oldest of six children, Mary should share the burden of providing for her siblings.

  “In the musical, I witnessed the mother's boundless love for her daughter. I gradually came to believe that my mother loves me in the same way, but maybe she never has expressed it in an open way to me.'' she said,“Now, I hope to have a dose relationship with my mother, and to be a good mother if I have a child someday.”










  I need to apologize to my son


  Song (not her real name) is serving a suspended death sentence for trafficing drugs.

  The parenting class-es I have attended in the past five years gave me food for thought about my role as a mother, and my relation-ship with my own mother.

  I was 28 when I started my jail term, and my son was 4 years old. I didn’t think about too much about the duties of a mother before. I indulged myself in a life of peasure and comfort. I spent most of my time playing with my son. I didn’t think to plan for the future.

  In the classes, we read books about intergenerational relations, and parenting experts were invited to give lectures on how to care for children of different ages. I gradually became aware that I was not responsible enough as a mother, and I’m thinking about how to make things up to my son.

  He is studying at a univer-sity overseas and is headed for a prosperous future. My sentence has been reduced seven times, so I am sup-posed to leave prison in about 18 months.

  I will tell my son how I made it through the hardest period of my life, and let him see how I have changed my personality. He will see that l am positive, cheerful and responsible. I will not be a shameful figure to my child for his whole life.







  English course helps prepare convicts for outside worid


  In December, Shanghai Women's Prison completed its first semester of oral English classes. The course, which is intended to better prepare the inmates for life after prison, is expected to continue this year.

  Initially, 20 inmates with no prior knowledge of English took part in the six-month course, and 16 completed the semester.

  After the course, one inmate wrote a letter in English to the teacher and prison staff.

  "Thank you for giving me the chance to learn to speak English. I am so happy because now I can see something good in my future life. I will study harder. I will never give up." she wrote.

  Huang Yin. director of educa-tional affairs at the prison, said, "It's hard to say how much these skills will help the inmates secure jobs after release, but the course has really helped to boost their self-confidence and prepare them for reintegration into society.

  The course was designed by a team led by Li Tianqi, an English teacher at Shanghai Normal University.

  "It was based on games activ-ities, such as role-playing games where the inmates could simu-late different situations in every-day life, so they could practice speaking English in an effective way." U said, adding that the prisoners' emotional needs were taken into consideration and they were given many opportunities for personal inter-action and to collaborate as a team.

  Some inmates said they ini-tially found it hard to recognize the 26 letters of the English alphabet, but after the lessons, most could express their ideas in simple English.

  "I can now talk a little with the foreign inmates in English, which makes me so happy." said a Chinese prisoner who is being held in a block alongside foreigners.