FSIP originally stood for Free Spirits in Prisons. This arose from the recognition that by doing therapeutic work in prisons, we are assisting prisoners in the freeing of their spirits – spirits which have often been trapped, put away, shut out in order to survive – and that is often BEFORE facing the atrocious conditions inside prison, which creates another layer of ‘shutting out and shutting down.’
Many prisoners (indeed many therapy clients in general) gradually become conscious of the need to turn inwards to free the sense of entrapment inside, before they can achieve what they would like to achieve on the outside.
There are many stories of how prisoners have freed themselves during their time in prison, and have achieved incredible results both inside, and later after release. See books like Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul for examples of such stories.
Nonetheless, in the worry of sounding too vague; the more formal meaning of the acronym became ‘Friends for the Support of International Prisoners’ – which is exactly what FSIP is and will continue to be.
Needless to say, we do not condone crimes, nor are we ‘do good-ers’ attempting to avoid all methods of punishment. What we DO stand for is the pursuit of inner knowledge, and the recognition that everybody has a human right to this knowledge, regardless of the person, his or her past, and what he or she has or has not done.
We do not believe that people are born with bad intentions. We have seen and continue to see that upon gaining awareness of the inner world and the reasons behind their own behaviour, prisoners are able to turn their thinking and beliefs around. In so doing, they impact positively upon not only their own lives, but also the lives of their closest relatives and friends, which in turn impacts on a wider group of people, and so on and so forth.