Machine guns, prison and marvelous inspiration
by, 01-28-2012 at 09:16 AM (2987 Views)
Ruy Drever the Uruguayan-born, Oxford-educated executive and
the CEO and founder of Pretorian Hard Sports, the wildly successful Brazilian MMA equipment brand, is at the leading edge of positive social change in the spiritual birthplace of mixed martial arts - Brazil. Looking to invest in Social Projects and Social Transformation of those who are incarcerated, Drever and Pretorian Hard Sports has initiated a project to assist those still incarcerated work toward a future opportunity following their release. Opening up 10 training centers in 10 jails in Rio, called the Bangu Penitentiary Complex, which has 26 prisons and jails. All the equipment was donated. The teachers were donated, and the idea is to train these guys, these prisoners. They have to, obviously, have good behavior, and there is a criteria for them to train. The prisoners will get a certificate after a certain number of years and certain number of classes they've done. They will come out of jail with this certificate, which will enable them to get a job in a pool of gyms that are already engaging into this project so that the guy when he comes out, he already has a job willing to accept them.
Drever said the project is designed to not only assist in inmates' behavior while in prison but more importantly to give them an opportunity once out. In Brazil 70 % of all released inmates have just one week to find a job or go back to prison. When asked about this controversial new project Drever had this to say -
"We don't know what's going to happen. We just started the project, but I hope we can provide an opportunity."
The prison-training project is already being praised by those involved in its implementation, as well some Brazilian leaders who want to see similar programs instituted in other penitentiaries.
Should this training of cons, killers, thieves and such riff-raff be allowed? Does it really help in social transformation?
I don't know what's going to happen with these programs, but if one guy is changed – one guy – it's worth it. If one kid is saved from going into the criminal life, it's worth it. In these shanty towns, the kids barely have enough to eat, and then they see the drug dealers – 10, 12 years old or 15, 16 years old – with machine guns, really well-dressed with the best Nike shoes, the best girls, the power, the fame – that becomes their inspiration. As soon as you start bringing something else which is inspirational to them, it's marvelous.
Drever gives a good example of his new project;
"The best example I have of what we can accomplish was from about two-and-a-half years ago," Drever said. "The man I have leading one of our initiatives came to me and said, 'The main drug dealer of our community, he came to me and said he wanted his 10-year-old son to come into our program.' I was like, 'Careful.' He said, 'Can't you see? He doesn't want his family to become what he's become. Can you believe the social transformation? He knows he's scum, and he doesn't want his kid to become what he's become. He's going to die like that, but he wants a different life for his son.'
This is social transformation. For me, it's just what everybody should do.
Adapting a project like this into American society is a risky thing to do, but I believe it is the right thing to do also. Let's follow Drever's lead and "reform" our social problems by putting to work the values of good training. MMA isn't the only sport which can be taught in a prison. How about Basketball, Sports nutrition, Boxing, Wrestling, etc...? Bad publicity follows every action of everyone involved in sports or sports entertainment. Training prisoners and then giving them jobs in the public eye probably isn't the best thing to do, but giving them jobs as trainers, scouts, ring/cage set up workers, or any other type of "out of the public eye" job in any of these fields would go a long way in the transformation of our society. It would also show that people can change their lives for the better. We help them, they help us. Giving up on even one person is itself a crime and should never be an option.
That's it for this blog, just a little something to think about and possibly take the next step.