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Effective rehabilitation for prison inmates: David Lynch Foundation
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30 December 2010
The origins of criminal behavior, while difficult to pinpoint precisely, can often be traced back to the long-term impact of traumatic stress. Unless a rehabilitation program for the men and women behind bars effectively targets this disorder, too often the rehabilitation will prove ineffective, and incarceration and recidivism rates will continue to climb—resulting in considerable pain and suffering for the victims of crime, significant expense to taxpayers, and substantial waste of human potential to those incarcerated.
In collaboration with Departments of Corrections in states throughout the country, as well as other organizations, the David Lynch Foundation offers the Transcendental Meditation program to prison inmates and guards to promote wellness and reduce health care costs, decrease stress and substance abuse, and reduce rule infractions and recidivism rates nationwide.
Beyond the costly warehousing of inmates
The inmate population in the U.S. represents the highest rate of incarceration in the world. According to a Pew Trust report, one in every 28 children in America has a parent behind bars, up from one in 125 just 25 years ago.
∙ Right now there are over two million Americans serving time behind bars.
∙ Sixty-seven percent of people released from prison are re-arrested within three years of their release.
∙ The cost to incarcerate one man per year in New York is $55,670 (higher than the average income of a New York State resident).
Approach of the David Lynch Foundation: Freedom behind bars
For 35 years, Transcendental Meditation has been taught with significant benefit to inmates and guards in some of America's toughest prisons, including San Quentin, Folsom, and Walpole. This program has been warmly received by the prison population because it is easy to learn and requires no belief or change in lifestyle. And the results are immediate: deep relaxation and relief from stress, anxiety, and depression. This has been found to result in fewer rule infractions as well as reduced recidivism rates.
The David Lynch Foundation employs specially qualified teachers of Transcendental Meditation who are prepared to work in the prisons, to help with the genuine rehabilitation of offenders by lifting the oppressive stress within the prison community that undermines existing rehabilitation programs.
Scientific research has documented the beneficial effects of the Transcendental Meditation Technique in rehabilitation of prison inmates. A few highlights:
∙ Decreased Recidivism. Walpole study of the Transcendental Meditation program in maximum security prisoners I: Cross-sectional differences in development and psychopathology. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 2003: 36: 97-126.
∙ Decreased Recidivism: Long-term Follow-Up. Effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on recidivism among former inmates of Folsom prison: Survival analysis of 15-year follow-up data. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 2003: 36, 181-203.
∙ Improved psychological health of inmates. The application of the Transcendental Meditation program to corrections. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 1987: 1, 111-132.
∙ Decreased Substance Usage. Treating and preventing alcohol, nicotine, and drug abuse through Transcendental Meditation: A review and statistical meta-analysis. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 1994: 11: 13-87.
∙ Improved Criminal Behavior and Decreased Substance Abuse: Review of Literature. Effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation program in criminal rehabilitation and substance abuse recovery: A review of research. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 2003: 36, 47-65.
Watch short videos on the effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation program in prisons, on the Prisons page of the David Lynch Foundation website:
∙ Oregon inmates find freedom from stress
∙ Senior prison researcher talks about benefits of TM
∙ Prison medical doctor wants TM for all inmates
∙ Foundation for effective rehabilitation: Norman Rosenthal, MD, distinguished psychiatrist and researcher on Transcendental Meditation and traumatic stress.
For more about current initiatives of the David Lynch Foundation in prisons, click here.
Future Global Good News articles will feature more about the work of the David Lynch Foundation with American Indians, as well as global outreach programs to help at-risk children in violence-ridden regions of the world.
© Copyright 2010 David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace
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