The research for the spiritual paradigm of female detainees in prison is still rare and understudied. This could be due to many reasons of which one is possibly due to the low percentage of women in imprisonment (Ashdown & James, 2010). Way back in the 19th century women are likely to be in their homes; caring for their children, cooking, and doing household chores. Men thought that a patriarchal system should be always discerned because of the biological and psychological characteristics. The women can be only imprisoned because they were alleged witches (Weidenbeck, 2015). In the early years of the 20th century, women have been victims of poverty, economic exploitation, and sexual harassment. The rights of the women were not respected and disregarded. Due to these, women have been part of the revolutions. Joan de Arc of France, Rosa Parks of U.S.A. and our very own Gabriela Silang are some of the known woman heroes in our world. Here in our third world country, the dilemma about women has not ended. After surviving three colonizers of the Philippines, women had become more empowered.
During the Spanish colonization, women who have strong will joined the guerrilla groups until the time of the American colonization. Sadly, during the Japanese colonization, women were abused physically and deprived of their rights. Until the time of the Martial Law, women also participated in peaceful revolutions and loud rebellions. Women nowadays are as aggressive as men are. They fight for what they believe is true and just for themselves and for their loved ones (Arce, Buemdia, Dumasig, Escabarte, Floresca, Gimagan, Goloran, Lamoste, Punay, Tabaloc and Valdez, 2012).
Since 1980, the number of women in United States prisons has tripled. During this time, the rate of incarceration for women has surpassed the male rate during every year but one; and in 1996, the number of women imprisoned nationally was 69,028 (LeBlanc, 1996).
The war on drugs has inadvertently become a war on women, clearly contributing to the explosive increase in the number of women who are incarcerated. The 1986 mandatory drug sentencing laws, with their get tough on crime philosophy specifying that anyone caught with possession of a drug should automatically be sentenced, were designed to rid society of drug dealers and major players in the illegal drug trade. Unfortunately, this law backfired in the case of women. The assumption that this law was only sending dangerous males to prison was a false one. Between 1986 and 1991, the number of women in state prisons for drug offenses increased by 433%, compared to a 283% increase for men (LeBlanc, 1996). Currently, 35.9% of women serving time for drug offenses were charged solely with possession. Instead of a policy of last resort, imprisonment has become the first-order response for a wide range of non-violent and petty offenses and women have been disproportionately swept up in this trend (Bloom, Chesney-Lind, & Owen, 1994, p. 2).
To keep up with the high costs of incarceration, it takes $50,000 per cell to build a new prison and $20,000 per person per year to house offenders. Many states have cut vitally needed social service, educational, and drug/alcohol programs (Raspberry, 1991). Since there is a high rate of recidivism among women who are convicted for possession or use of drugs, curtailing drug and alcohol recovery programs has proven to be an expensive and illogical move.
Women-Friendly Jail, this is the known name for the woman detainees at Davao city jail in the Philippines. According to Ana Santos article, there are 131 woman detainees awaiting sentencing, a process that can take years due to the slow justice system of the country. They are usually imprisoned due to reasons which include theft, child abuse, and oral defamation but majority of them are in jail because of the use and selling of drugs. They are sanctioned of RA 9165 with corresponding sanctions depending on their offenses.
Many are not that knowledgeable enough with how the life of the prisoners circulates inside the jail. Many are making wrong speculations of the way of living of the detainees. The reason this study focuses in the life of the female detainees for it is needed to be highlighted in order to impose correct information about them, for us to see the real world happening inside the jail and to know the right programs that fit for each detainee in the jail.
The increased of employment opportunities for females created increased criminal opportunities as well. We must move forward in the study of female crime. By studying, we can gain insight into the effects of poverty, incest, abuse, poor judgment, lack of training, lack of education and mental illness that might cause the female to deviate from the path of normal, acceptable, law-abiding behaviour. In examining female crime, we are able to develop possible solutions and preventive measures in dealing with female crime. Examination of female crime could aid and assist in rehabilitative measures for the female criminal (Schulhofer, 1995; Adler, 1976; Mannheim, 1965).
Therefore, the factors that the researcher will focus are on the problems and programs that can help and are suitable for the woman detainees at Davao city jail. It will determine the solution for the problems.
Review of Related Literature
The Literatures that follows will provide the researchers with more knowledge and information that will be relevant to the study.
The definition for spirituality has developed and expanded over time. The term has broadened and spread to a wider range of esoteric and religious traditions (McKernan, 2005). Traditionally, Spirituality can be described as the whole of our deepest beliefs, convictions and patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior in respect to what is ultimate, to God (Girl, 2017). Furthermore, it is the pursuit of a life shaped by a sense of meaning, values, and perhaps transcendence (Sheldrake, 2016).
Getting out of the topic, prisoners develop different kinds of depression (Thomas, 2018). In a research conducted on female detainees in Chile, it was found that there is strong evidence of associations between religion and spirituality (RS) and mental health in the general population of prisoners in North America and Europe. Ninety-four (94) randomly sampled female prisoners in Chile participated in a pooled two-stage cross-sectional survey. Sixty-nine (69) (73.4%) female detainees considered RS to be personally very important. The data showed how RS shapes prisoners’ help-seeking behaviour and attitudes to mental health care. (Aboaja, 2018)
For instance, individuals who have been subjected to imprisonment have more likely to have a poorer spirituality than those of the people who has no criminal records (Siennick, Stewart, and Staff, 2014). Additionally, convicts make less effort to broaden their consciousness; they rarely seek the meaning of the surrounding reality, have substantially fewer spiritual experiences associated with doing good, and they are less sensitive to art and to external and internal beauty, which is associated with moral choices (Skowronski and Domzalska, 2017).
Nonetheless, on the study conducted by Wu (2009), detainees perceived that a relationship with God serves as the protective factor during the time of incarceration. Moreover, all the participants have reported a mythical experience while incarcerated that attributed to their personal faith. And interestingly, persons who have experienced to be incarcerated undergo some degree of spiritual change during the time of imprisonment (Placer, 2009).
Therefore, the statement above is supported of the study conducted by O’Connor and Duncan (2011) that religion and spirituality in prison help to humanize a dehumanizing situation by assisting prisoners in coping with being a social outcast in a context that is fraught with loss, deprivation, and survival challenges.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, Bureau of Corrections implemented a reformation program for Moral and Spiritual development. Inmates enjoy freedom of religion. All inmates are free to observe the rituals of their faith, with orderly conduct supervised by prison authorities. With a predominantly Roman Catholic prison population, a Catholic Mass is a regular feature in spiritual activities of the prison communities. Prisoners may be baptized or given other sacraments (Bureau of Corrections).
In fact, most prisoners suffer a condition called buryong – a strange overwhelming need coupled with agonizing loneliness, anxiety, and uneasiness accompanied by feelings of futility and defeat (Saplala, 2001). According to the study conducted by Saplala, inmates participate at spiritual activities for the reason that it helped them cope with feelings of isolation, restlessness, and defeat.
Concurrently, in Davao City prisons, Archdiocesan Commission on Prison Welfare (ACPW) volunteers serve inmates and their families with spiritual, educational, health, livelihood and sports programs in a holistic approach to personal development. Consequently, a program for released inmates would complement activities that are already being conducted inside the jail by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), ACPW, and other groups, including religious services of different faiths, sports activities, and seminars on the culture of peace. (Ingle, 2016) (Davao Catholic Herald, 2015)
Spirituality as Sensitivity to External Beauty
Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2018) defined spirituality as the sensitivity or attachment to religious values. However, according to Puchalski, Vitillo, Kull and Reller (2014), spirituality is the aspect of humanity in which individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred. Additionally, the spiritual dimension tries to be in harmony with the universe, and attempts for answers about the infinite, and comes into focus when the person faces emotional stress, physical illness, or death (Murray & Zenter, 1989).
A study conducted by Boyatzis, Dollahite, & Marks (2006) shows how family is considered as a context in which spiritual development occurs. Due to space limitations, the emphasis is given on socialization and interaction processes within the family and not on other issues such as psychodynamic processes
or faith development. In addition, an article shows that spirituality among prisoners is toxic. Prison does indeed have a ‘spirituality’ and it reflects the spiritual condition of American society. It is said that prison is a state of permanent visibility of observation in which a person’s spiritual nature is put to an extreme test; which means that if a person’s core identity is broken, an outcome intentionally sought by the rigors of imprisonment. In fact, many American Christians believe this to be a necessary process and desired outcome (Watts, 2015). Additionally, it has been found in studies such as one by Camp, Klein-Saffran, Kwon, Daggett and Joseph (2006) that incarcerated individual express that they find many benefits such as motivation “to make changes in their lives” while engaging in spiritual practices during their time while incarcerated.
A qualitative study on the spiritual transformation of imprisoned boys in the Philippines argues that boys who suffer deprivation at home, on the streets and in jail become alienated from society. When events lead to an experience of spiritual awakening, the treatment they receive can either lead them to make changes in their lives or it can hinder them from doing so. With encouragement, boys are able to consolidate positive life changes and reach a lasting condition of spiritual transformation. The study demonstrates how some programs of rehabilitation in the Philippines allow deprived children to experience and develop constructive relationships of trust, reliance, attachment and commitment, and also the development of faith that is important for spiritual transformation (Derbyshire, 2014).
Furthermore, a study compared the spiritual activities engaged in by thirty-five inmate Catholic participants and seventeen inmate Catholic nonparticipants and their resiliency levels during their incarceration at the New Bilibid Prisons’ maximum-security compound. Results show that their involvement in spiritual activities may be linked to the need for them to cope with the harsh realities of prison life and that the activities may allow them to transcend the feeling of helplessness, thus, possibly becoming more resilient.
Spirituality as Search of Meaning
One of Milton Hay’s (n.d.) four dimensions of spirituality is the spirituality as search of meaning, spirituality develops through the search of the meaning of one’s life that one may be able to achieve a certain peace that will reduce the relevance of intellectual answers to the different complex concepts. An individual’s search for the meaning will help them in cultivating their spiritual development through exploration, a spirituality develops while a person is searching for their subjective answers about the true meaning of life, it could be the death, hate, pain, nature, love, or any unexplainable concepts or experiences.
People living in this world must look for peace, sense of security, support, and wisdom in some experience of the Holy (Hall, 2010). An individual can be able to explore and develop their spirituality through education and experience (Stillman, 2012). There are experiences that will test the spirituality and will mold an individual, through these experiences it will become a foundation in strengthening their spirituality, since spirituality will help them in defining their purpose in life at the same time it is a way of life wherein an individual perceives non worldly interests with concern (Mind Controversy, 2018). Even a spiritual director can be guidance to those individuals who are seeking the meaning in life, discovering purpose and values (Hedaya, 2014).
There has been a spiritual transformation of the imprisoned boys in the Philippines, they undergo some personal counselling and psychotherapy session, programs that will nurture spiritual development and will stimulate processes of transformation that made an impact, since there has been a relevant change that made their life as an individual better (Derbyshire, 2014). Activities and programmes are provided to the prisoners such as psychological, spiritual and religious since they are in need of forgiveness, hope and inspiration in God (Digal, 2017).
Research shows that is conducted in Iligan City Jail that there is no significant difference between male and female inmates in terms of their satisfaction with the psychological and spiritual but in general there is significant difference between the overall quality of life of male and female inmates. The results of the study manifest that the inmates with regards to the spiritual enrichment program of the Jail Management that helps them in finding the meaning of life is that they felt the sense of contentment because of it; This basically means that the religious and spiritual needs are being developed inside the jail (Araña, 2011).
Religious Spiritual Needs
Currently, the term spirituality is used with religion. Religion comes from the Latin word “religare” meaning “to bind together” (Surbone & Baider, 2010). It is the observable aspects of people’s spirituality such as beliefs, values and rituals (Pehler ; Rosenberg, 2009). Spirituality comes from the Latin word “spiritus” meaning life, breath, wind and air, and can be referred back to the time when God gave life to Adam and Eve (McSherry, 2000). Spirituality is a complex concept and is define in different ways according to cultural and religious/spiritual needs. Religious spiritual needs are the deep needs of an individual; if he is able to know the needs, then he can act accordingly and find meaning, value, purpose and hope in life even when life is threatened. All people have spiritual needs regardless of religious beliefs or personal philosophies of life (O’Brien, 2008). The spiritual needs of non-religious people are as significant as those of religion-affiliated persons (Sulmasy, 2009)
In the study of Jana Lynn Wu about Assessing the Benefits of Practicing Spirituality or Religion while Incarcerated: A Study of formerly Incarcerated Men in Texas states that Religion and spirituality can be differentiated in the following way: Walsh (1999b) distinguishes religion as