Inmates Dive Inward

by Keith Deboer on September 1, 2010

Incarceration can be a wake-up call for people who commit crime. It can be a time for introspection and evaluation of one’s life—a time to reflect on the past, present, and future. As a result, prison rehabilitation programs often seek to provide skills in self evaluation and self development in order to help prisoners in their quest for greater self-knowledge.

In this three-minute video, Tom O’Connor, Research Manager for the Oregon State Department of Corrections, discusses his views on inmate introspection, and the positive impact of the Transcendental Meditation program on prisoner rehabilitation.

According to Mr. O’Connor many inmates are looking within and searching for an anchor in their lives. Some look to religion or spirituality, others to humanity or secularism for inspiration and guidance. Mr. O’Connor is excited about the Transcendental Meditation technique as a valuable resource for prisoners in Oregon State Correctional Institutions.

In his work with prisoners who have learned the TM technique Mr. O’Connor says that he’s found that the TM program supports them in their search for higher values and meaning in life, and that this happens regardless of the inmates’ religious or personal beliefs. In his words, it’s a technique to “learn more about yourself and get more in touch with whoever you are.”

In 2003, the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation published a special volume of research called “Transcendental Meditation in Criminal Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention.” It presented a range of research showing the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique can reduce prisoner recidivism while simultaneously developing psychological functioning. The research reviews evidence that crime is linked to stress-induced malfunctioning of in the nervous system.

Web references:

Transcendental Meditation in Criminal Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention

Research on Transcendental Meditation at Folsom State Prison in California

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Related posts:

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  2. Can Transcendental Meditation help rehabilitate prison inmates?
  3. FREEDOM BEHIND BARS: Transforming lives of inmates and guards
  4. Can TM help fix our prison system?
  • http://meditationsydney.org.au/ Transcendental Meditation, Sydney

    Fascinating video. For those who don’t know, in the late 1980′s, Transcendental Meditation was taught to more than 11,000 inmates in the Senegalese prison system, and as a result, the rate of recidivism dropped from 90% to less than 3%.

    Lets hope this project is equally successful!

  • http://www.meditativelearning.com/ Rune

    Great article / video.
    This must be a very good way to get prisoners to reflect, and perhaps even manage to get better acquainted with themselves.

    Keep up the good work.

  • http://adventuresintranscendentalmeditation.blogspot.com/ Keith DeBoer

    Thanks to all for the nice comments! The TM program is active in several other prisons besides the Oregon Correctional facility. I’ll be reporting on a program in Dominica next. Enjoy! Keith

  • http://www.siliconsqueak.org Lawson English

    I have a copy of the book about the Senegal prison project. It would be very cool indeed if permission could be obtained to turn that into a downloadable PDF file and/or web book.

  • http://www.optionsokanagan.com/blog/category/uncategorized/ Alberta drug and alcohol rehab

    Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I in finding It really helpful & it helped me out much. I am hoping to present one thing back and aid others such as you helped me.

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