Since the 15th of January 2015, four sociotherapy groups are running in Muhanga prison. These socio-groups are being facilitated by 8 prisoners and 4 co-facilitators trained to work as sociotherapists. Lately the follow up training was conducted, aiming at capacity building through the identification of challenges and ways of overcoming them in the sociotherapy groups.
The three days follow up training were characterized by an environment of recapitulation, sharing of experiences and strengthening the acquired knowledge and skills of trained sociotherapists. Also trainees had opportunity to do practices to improve their group facilitation.
All sociotherapists were very engaged and open to ask questions for clarifications to deepen their understanding of sociotherapy.
One of the prisoners said: “We have a continuous thirst to learn, as we are privileged to be trained as sociotherapists. This is really a particular training that enables us to express challenges met so far. We appreciate how corrective and ensuring this training is.”
In the training, the sociotherapists expressed their concern about management of cases of strong emotions and trauma from participants in their groups.
Whereas according to previous observations we were thinking that in general inmates tend to suppress their emotions during socio-sessions in comparison to participants in socio-groups in the communities outside the prison walls, during the follow up training sociotherapists mentioned these cases and requested for advices on how to deal with this.
The follow up training was helpful and supportive. Further training on other knowledge (e.g. trauma management, gender and restorative justice) will be organized in July and the CBSP staff will continue to supervise and equip them with relevant knowledge.
One of Prison authorities who participated in the closing of training, expressed his satisfaction on the professionalism of sociotherapy program, acknowledged the difficult task of the sociotherapists who are facilitating socio-groups of other inmates, and appreciate how sociotherapy is helping in the transformation and healing processes of prisoners. They recognized the distress prisoners experience and how sociotherapy strengthens their resilience and helps them to be more aware of the challenges they might experience in the reintegration process.
Field Coordinator Southern Province