Since the film Doing Time, Doing Vipassana, which tells about the emotional turnover prisoners and guards went through in an Indian prison, there have been plenty of meditation programs in the US for prisoners.
The program at the Donaldson Correctional Facility is different. For one thing, it’s the first maximum security prison in North America to hold a ten-day silent Vipassana retreat. Anyone who’s participated in a silent retreat knows how intense they can be. You don’t say anything, don’t look at anyone, you wake up around 5 am, and do sitting meditation for most of the day. It doesn’t seem like something that would have a lot of success in a prison. But the responses from men at Donaldson who went through it show that’s not true.
In “Prison Monks,” an article by Amre Klimchak, we read that “several inmates reveal they were doubtful that the technique would have an impact on them. But one by one, they each explain how their deep-seated fears and old anger comes to the surface, in what their teachers call a “storm,” and they express remorse for their offenses.” (“Prison Monks” by Amre Klimchak)
This video tells a little about their experiences.
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