I heard that you recently published a study with your colleagues in which you helped men in prison learn to forgive. What did you find and why did you focus on prisoners who, it seems to me, need to ask us for forgiveness because of what they did?
Rehabilitation in correctional institutions tends to focus on changing the behavior which led to the sentencing in the first place. Yet, our research found that about 90% of 103 men whom we surveyed had considerable injustices against them when they were children or adolescents. One gentleman was thrown out of his home by his mother when he was 10 years old. He slept under cars at night as his bed. So often, this kind of cruelty against children can lead to a welling up of hatred and this can lead to crime, arrest, and imprisonment. Forgiveness Therapy allowed the men to forgive those who abused them which led to a statistically significant decrease in clinical levels of anger, anxiety, and depression to normal or near normal levels. They also developed more empathy toward people in general. Those in the control group, without Forgiveness Therapy, did not show this kind of improvement in their mental health, but when they then were given Forgiveness Therapy, they, too, showed similar improvement compared with the original experimental group. Here is the reference to that research:
Yu, L., Gambaro, M., Song, J., Teslik, M., Song, M., Komoski, M.C., Wollner, B., & Enright, R.D. (2021). Forgiveness therapy in a maximum-security correctional institution: A randomized clinical trial. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy.