Prison would probably be the last place I’d think of checking into to relieve stress, but that’s exactly what hundreds of South Koreans are doing these days.‘Prison Inside Me’ is a stress-reduction center with a penal theme, located on the outskirts of Hongcheon, about 58 miles northeast of Seoul.
Prison Inside Me is the brainchild of 47-year-old Kwon Yong-seok, who was previously a lawyer. “I didn’t know how to stop working back then,” he said. “I felt like I was being swept away against my will, and it seemed I couldn’t control my own life.” That’s when he decided to spend time behind bars. He asked his old acquaintance – a prison governor – if he could spend a week locked up in jail. Although he said it was for ‘therapeutic reasons’, his bizarre request was rejected.
So Kwon decided to take matters into his own hands, and began to make plans for his prison-like spiritual center. It was ready in June last year, after a year of construction that cost about 2 billion won ($19 million). Kwon managed to cover the cost through loans and donations from friends and relatives. The facility, he said, was not built for profit.