HomePhilippine Journal of Psychologyvol. 44 no. 2 (2011)

Integrating Psychology in a Prisoner's Reformation Program

Jesus Enrique G. Saplala

Discipline: Psychology



Most men who go through incarceration experience behavioral changes in different ways. Initial experiences include an imbalance between their cognition and affect. Prolonged incarceration including the absence of a sound reformation program may prolong this experience and contribute to varying mental states. This paper looked into the development of prison reformation programs in several countries and an evaluation of Skwelahang Sikolohiya, a sixteen-year-old prison reformation program based in the Philippine national penitentiary. It includes a chronological review of how volunteer psychologists and educators have developed modules in psychology which aimed to respond to the problems experienced as a result of these changes such as those focused on the self, varying emotional states unique to a prisoner (an emotion locally known as buryong) and gradual distortion of cognitions; relational issues among prison gangs (pangkat); and concerns about their eventual reconnection with the mainstream society.