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Transcendental Meditation and recidivism
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2 January 2008
Currently, about 1.4 million Americans are behind bars, and experts agree that conventional approaches to rehabilitating prisoners have failed. In fact, nearly two-thirds of all inmates who are paroled return to prison within three years.
In the past 20 years, Transcendental Meditation has been taught to thousands of adult inmates in 18 U.S. correctional institutions and to hundreds of incarcerated juveniles in eight U.S. facilities. It has also been used in prisons in 12 other countries.
Research has found Transcendental Meditation to be very effective in rehabilitating offenders and reducing recidivism (the rate at which offenders return to prison).
33-38% reduction in recidivism:
In a study conducted by Harvard researchers of 133 maximum-security inmates, those who learned Transcendental Meditation decreased significantly in aggression and mental disorders, and increased markedly in psychological maturity, compared to matched controls and matched participants in four other treatment programs.
Inmates practising Transcendental Meditation also had recidivism rates 33-38% less than those of the four other treatment groups and the control group, over a 3 1/2 year period. (Dissertation Abstracts International 43(2): 539-B, 1982.)
35-40% reduction in recidivism:
In a five-year study of 259 male felons in California who had been paroled from such prisons as Folsom and San Quentin, the Transcendental Meditation group had 35-40% less recidivism than did matched controls. Other programs, including vocational training, psychotherapy, and prison education, did not consistently reduce recidivism. (Journal of Criminal Justice 15: 211-230, 1987.)
Large-scale study in Senegal:
In Senegal, West Africa, in 1987, President Abdou Diouf introduced the Transcendental Meditation program into 31 prisons nationwide. More than 11,000 prisoners and 900 correctional officers learned the technique. Violence in the prisons decreased markedly and recidivism rates dropped from 90% to about 8%. The Director of Penitentiary Administration in Senegal Colonel Mamadou Diop credited the Transcendental Meditation program for the dramatic reduction in recidivism. (Total Rehabilitation. Maharishi Vedic University Press, in press.)
Comprehensive research review
A narrative and quantitative review of research projects on Transcendental Meditation in eight correctional settings indicated that regular practice of Transcendental Meditation consistently leads to positive changes in health, personality development, and behavior, as well as lower recidivism, among inmates. (International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice 11: 111-112, 1987.)
Please see also peer reviewed research on Transcendental Meditation.
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