There were only twice that I came across the association between prison and Shakespeare, first was through an Italian movie call “Caesar Must Die” – a movie about a group of prisoners in Italy performing “Julius Caesar”. The second time I came across the association, was through Tom Hiddleston and his entry on his experience in London Shakespeare Workout Project (http://www.londonshakespeare.org.uk/prisondiaries/allthat.htm).
Then few weeks ago, I came across an article regarding such association found through a documentary call “Shakespeare Behind Bars”. It is an organization which enables people with conviction to re-integrate with society, by “finding themselves” through performing in Shakespeare dramas. It also enables them to find hope and faith in the world, or be able to empathized themselves with characters from Shakespeare. Through plays like “The Tempest”, inmates either learnt to forgive, or managed to ventilate their pains that triggered their action
Often our ideas about Prisoners or people with criminal past tend to be more than negative, because of our lack of security toward their existence or their actions. We often see them as threat to society, threat to individuals. Yet we often forgot to question what prompted them into where they are, as in some cases some people committed crime based on their lack of options, or as a reaction from the situations that thrust upon them. However because of how we feared they would commit crime so badly, we already reject their re-integration into society as a self-defense. This inevitably put them into the vicious cycle of re-committing crime, as nothing can be done to resolved their problematic situations.