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02 de abril de 2010Former Dancing Inmates bonded together to spread the message of peace, love, compassion and repentance to all jails in the Philippines in line with Mr. Byron Garcia’s crusade on spreading his “Music and Dance Therapy” to all jails nationwide.

Dancing Inmates goes nationwide

In pioneering a crusade to institutionalize music therapy in jails, Cebus original dancing inmates will perform their first out-of-town tour at the Manila City Jail, Makati City Jail, and Quezon City Jail on March 26. Byron Garcia, creator of the Dancing Inmates, in an an interview said that the pilot project will be held simultaneously at the jail facilities of Manila, Makati, and Quezon City.

BJMP chief Resendo M. Dial said the memorandum of agreement is a collaborative effort between BJMP and Garcia to institutionalize music therapy in jail facilities nationwide. Music therapy which includes therapeutic dancing and singing becomes the centerpiece component for BJMPs inmate development program. The memorandum of agreement signing will take place at the Manila City Jail.

This memorandum of agreement literally lets the Cebu Dancing Inmates bring other inmates nationwide dancing and singing.

Speaking on the success of the dancing inmates for the first time since his long silence after the release of the successful This is it video where the choreographer of Michael Jackson danced with the dancing inmates now posted on youtube, Garcia disclosed that it was a redemptive rehabilitation protocol that has been key in the creation of the dancing inmates. He deplored how jail facilities nationwide and in other parts of the world are being called by other names like rehabilitation, penitentiaries and correctional if only to hide the living hell realities of these institutions. But no matter how jails are called, prisons by any name are still hell. It is a location in the map that governments would like to hide but cannot conceal.

Known to be an agenda-setter Garcia said that the reason why prison facilities in the country have become living hells is because those who are in penology and rehabilitation are missing out the essence of compassion, redemption and restoration in jail management.

We are too busy looking for creative ways to punish an offender instead of restoring him to become the human being that he is. We have to look at prisons beyond the cycle of crime and punishment and certainly look inside underlying social, cultural and scriptural implications of rehabilitation. As it is, those creative ways of punishing offenders that have led to restrictive and punitive conditions in jails have also bred demons out of prisoners, Garcia underscored.

Garcia said that this therapeutic protocol of dance and music is meant to restore dignity to people who suffer the stigma of incarceration and restore self-esteem to inmates because they are alienated from society. Therapeutic music and dance is meant to help prisoners cope with their depression and anxiety, improve their well-being as they go through a transition phase and reintegrate to society. Music is a protocol to heal them of emotional and psychological disorders and trauma as a result of the offense or incarceration.

Garcia said that because penology practices make living hell in jails, the tendency is we breed next generation demons when they are discharged. He said that if prisoners are healed while in prison, then we make them better persons when they are released and stay away from crime.

There have been many clinical results worldwide as to the effect of music therapy on adults and children with mental and emotional disorders and cancer patients or patients with debilitating diseases. Clear evidence on the effect of music therapy on prisoners is rather scant. Clinicians and therapists skeptic about therapeutic music and dance for inmates because they cannot be placed in a clinical setting and certainly inmates in a large scale.

The experience of the Dancing Inmates have proven a clinical breakthrough of using therapeutic music and dance in healing, restoring and rehabilitating inmates to become dignified human beings. This is actually what prompted BMJPs Dial to take interest in therapeutic music and dance and to institutionalize this nationwide in this memorandum of agreement signing.