Marjan Gryson

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2015



This profile was prepared when Marjan Gryson was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2015.
The New Idea
In Belgium, as in the rest of the world, most prisoners are dealing with aggression issues - either having difficulty controlling their anger, or deepening levels of anger by being confined in a prison’s violent environment. And yet no psychological support is offered to inmates within the Belgium prisons, except for sexual offenders. Marjan has developed the first program focusing on redirecting aggression toward solutions for all Belgian prisoners, whatever the crime they have committed. Never reducing prisoners to the crimes they have committed, she creates an opportunity for individuals to set aside their anger, and develop the tools, plans and resiliency to work towards positive goals.

Already developed in five prisons in Belgium, the sessions are creating opportunities within the prison for inmates to set positive goals and build future projects once released, and enable inmates to reintegrate society as full citizens. To support this transition from prisoner to citizen and properly deal with the stress of reintegration, Marjan works both inside and outside the prison. By doing so, she engages and coordinates all the stakeholders in the environment of prisoners, from families to prison guards, probation courts to social organizations.

Marjan also is beginning to address aggression as a societal issue that goes beyond prisoners. Targeting groups often confronted with tension and incivility in their everyday life, Marjan is conducting trainings and workshops to sport clubs, lawyers, social workers or teachers and teach them how to positively turn aggressive attitudes. She is seeking to provide strategies and tools to redirect and manage aggression in segments of society where aggression and anger may be more likely to erupt. Marjan is educating the wider public about the causes and tools to redirect aggression, and helping change society’s negative perception about former prisoners and their potential to contribute in a positive way to society.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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