Meditation for prisoners

Meditation for rehabilitation

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US United States
Web http://www.prison.dhamma.org/
Maturity

Mature

About the project Edit

With the many positive effects meditation has on our cognitive system and our emotions, it is not surprising that meditation projects for prisoners have spread out. Meditation courses delivered for prisoners has proven to useful for rehabilitation. It is also a way to feel free in prison and it better protects prisoners of psychiatric disorders.

One example found of meditation for prisoners is the Vipassana Meditation Courses for Correction Facilities. Vipassana meditation, India's most ancient techniques of meditation has been successfully offered over the last 10 years within prisons located in India, Israel, Mongolia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand, U.K., and the United States. Since all courses are 10-days in length and residential in nature, they are held within the walls of a corrections institution with the teachers and the volunteers who are managing the courses living with the prisoners for the duration of the course.

The technique is designed to improve self-awareness by focusing on the connection between mind and body. It is taught on a 10-day residential course, for a large part of which the students are totally silent. Students learn how to divorce themselves from the past and future, and how to concentrate exclusively on the present.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Meditation courses for prisoners are a creative way to face rehabilitation issues surrounding correction facilities. In all, nearly 6.6 million people in the United States were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole -- about one in every 32 adults. Although prison sentences have become increasingly severe, recidivism rates are alarmingly high -- about 67.5% within three years of release according to a study of almost 300,000 prisoners released in 1994 (U.S. Department of Justice). Vipassana has brought to the American correctional system a way out of the debate about how to administer change from the outside by giving directly to the inmate the responsibility and means to change from within.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

Where Vipassana has been regularly used, the technique of Vipassana has been very successful in reducing the rate of recidivism within prison population. The inmates who completed a Vipassana course were 20% less likely to return to jail than other inmates. The results of a study on the effect of meditation on prisoners shows that it helped improve inmates' discipline and their willingness to co-operate with prison authorities. Moreover, inmates who studied the technique were less prone to depression, feelings of hostility and helplessness and a sense of hopelessness. Prison’s staff also benefits from the positive effects meditation has on prisoners. For corrections officers, the program can over time help make the prison environment less violent and easier to manage as more and more inmates incorporate meditation into their daily lives.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

Vipassana meditation courses for prisoners are easily scalable as meditation is a universal teaching. Courses are being taught in prisons all over the world. What helps in its scalability is that the prisoners themselves readily accept the technique and the cost of running training courses was minimal

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

What is the business model of this project? Edit


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