Transcendental Meditation and Prisoner Rehabilitation

Transcendental Meditation and Prisoner Rehabilitation

Finding some sense of inner peace while incarcerated can be nearly impossible. But for many inmates incarcerated in correctional facilities – from minimum to maximum security – learning Transcendental Meditation, known as TM, can bring profound and lasting change.

Within the concrete walls of the Oregon State Correctional Institutions, prisoners who practice Transcendental Meditation are finding higher values and meaning in life and are able to quiet their minds in order to reach within themselves to better understand their deep selves. This technique will often allow prisoners to learn to forgive themselves and to move forward to becoming productive members of society.

The results of the practice of TM on the life of the men were extraordinary – a 50% reduction in recidivism rates among meditating inmates three years after release from prison.

According to an article published in the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, a range of research has shown that the practice of Transcendental Meditation can actually help reduce prisoner recidivism while helping develop psychological functioning. A point well made in the article states that research shows evidence that crime is linked to stress-induced malfunctioning of the nervous system in the body. Practicing can help with stress reduction and ultimately help with prisoner rehabilitation.

In addition to inmates learning Transcendental Meditation techniques, guards are also learning this technique to help them deal with the stress of spending hours in prison and interacting with many incarcerated prisoners.

In recent years, budget cuts, high crime rates, and for many, a genuine interest in helping inmates behind bars with rehabilitation have created an upsurge of interest in providing Transcendental Meditation in correctional facilities around the country.

Many of the prisoners that practice Transcendental Meditation have found a way to control their emotions, and instead of reacting to a situation that may cause a person to commit a crime, using techniques can help them to stop and think the situation through before reacting.

To learn more about Transcendental Meditation, you can read Science of Being and Art of Living: Transcendental Meditation by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

A good book to read about Transcendental Meditation and criminal rehabilitation, please read, Transcendental Meditation, In Criminal Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention by Kenneth G. Walton, David Orme-Johnson, and Rachel S. Goodman.

To view a video from eight inmates who practice TM and how this technique has changed their lives, please watch this video.

“I’m spending time with myself. That’s actually what it really is, just spending time with your inner self, and everybody inside is a good person, you know, we just make bad choices. Spending time with myself actually makes me feel good. I’m actually starting to know who I am.”  From a prisoner incarcerated at Oregon State Correctional Institutions.