Prison Courses

Prison courses are awesome. There appears to be an unlimited upside and very little downside to teaching prisoners how to meditate. Our prisons are incredibly overpopulated and the “lock them up as punishment so they change” model isn’t working. In 2002 the first 10 day course was held at Donaldson Correctional Facility, a high security prison near Bessemer, Alabama. The documentary The Dhamma Brothers shows the inmates sharing their appreciation for the opportunity to learn such a technique. Courses have continued at Donaldson and were temporarily offered at a prison in Washington state but in 2012 those are the only prisons in the USA that have taught this technique. People say that there isn’t statistical evidence that this works but part of that is because the sample size is so small.

We need to find a way to introduce this technique to more prisons. If you know any more about the success of prison courses around the world please let me know. I just want to help get the word out that this technique exists and that it has worked successfully in prisons. India has a prison with a meditation center built inside its walls! Check out the below documentaries if you want to learn more.

A prison course in India:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8tZX3dGSM8

A prison course in Alabama:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/255596

 

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About Ryan Shelton

In March of 2010 I discovered a path to peace and happiness through a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in the tradition of S.N. Goenka. After establishing my personal practice, and witnessing how it changed my way of life, I'm now curious to explore how the growing community of meditators can help to support each other and make the world a better place.
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