As written in "Pope Francis Visits Prisoners in Philadelphia" the Holy Father said:
It should go without saying two and a half years into his papacy that Pope Francis' actions speak louder than his words. Catholics are called to perform the corporal works of mercy, one of which is to visit the imprisoned. And the Holy Father has done so on several occasions. Yet, I think his words are equally striking. He reminds us that those in prison are called to work toward rehabilitation.
Serving time ought to be a call toward rehabilitation—that may be found through prayer, meditation, education, counseling and well, even exercise. A recent story I heard on NPR, "Biking Behind Bars: Female Inmates Battle Weight Gain" reminded me how important breaking a sweat might be in that process.
I encourage you to listen to the five minute 'Weekend Edition" story. The corresponding article captures why exercise and proper nutrition are not to be underestimated in the rehabilitation of those behind bars. Tauyuna English writes, "In a 2010 survey, women at Riverside gained about 36 pounds in a year, on average. But after some changes at the facility, that weight gain dropped to 26 pounds when the medical team checked again in 2015." 36 pounds! Although that number has dropped, dramatic weight gain has adverse effects on physical as well as mental health. As one of my students pointed out, many women in prison are mothers as well. Weight management, nutrition and diet are important to model to children.
And so is exercise. Fortunately for women at Riverside, a spin class is an option that many have taken to. NPR reports,
In 2011, biking advocates from the nonprofit group Gearing Up persuaded prison administrators to let them bring in bikes to teach indoor cycling. Founder Kristin Gavin says before that she had mentored ex-offenders out in the community.
|Setting an intention to leave behind depression
Riverside Prison Spin Class