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Positive, promising, poignant: Inmates in Oregon, US prison talk about their practice of Transcendental Meditation

Enlightenment - The Transcendental Meditation Magazine    Translate This Article
12 June 2011

''I would like to see Transcendental Meditation in every prison in Oregon. TM® has provided a path for inmates to follow that can lead them to more thoughtful and insightful thinking and behavior that can sustain them during their period of incarceration. Once they're released, TM can help pave the way towards a successful transition back into mainstream society.'' —Gary Kilmer, Superintendent, Oregon State Correctional Institution, US

Please see Part I of this series. This article continues featuring the results of a scientific research study investigating the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on high-risk inmates at the Oregon State Penitentiary in the United States.

Rehabilitation from within
Blaze Compton, the onsite manager of the Oregon study and a certified TM teacher, has witnessed many remarkable changes in individual inmates who have started meditating. Mr. Compton reflects, ''The inmates are facing imprisonment on a deeper level—the prison of stress within their own mind. With TM, we are giving them a technique to allow their mind to transcend, to break out of the boundaries of this prison of stress, negativity, and harmful thoughts and emotions. When they feel this relief on the inside, they naturally behave differently on the outside. True rehabilitation starts from within.'' He cites some examples:  

Jimmy, a 30-year-old inmate doing five years for car theft, has severe ADHD and was convinced he could never sit still for even 30 seconds, let alone meditate. But since his first meditation, he reports experiencing 20 minutes of deep peace twice a day—and relief from the incessant darting of his attention. As a result, his ADHD symptoms no longer bother him as much as before. 

Paul, doing two years for drug dealing, attended the TM introductory lecture to enjoy the chocolate chip cookies served at the event. But he reluctantly decided to give meditation a try. Weeks later, he says, ''I feel happy and peaceful. I'm just smiling to myself. I know I am never gonna do drugs again. And another thing, I feel smarter. I don't want to be in any gang no more. Is that normal?''

David, an 18-year-old doing 25 years for severe assault, grew up in Oregon's youth custody facilities, where he was nicknamed ''Cocktail'' because he was on so many different drugs to control his behavior. As an adult in the state prison, he spent much of his time in isolation—until he learned the Transcendental Meditation technique. Now, a year later, he is off all eight of his medications, has not had a disciplinary problem since beginning meditation, and has earned a bed in the honor unit of the prison.

Many other Oregon inmates have had similar remarkable experiences with their TM practice. For video interviews, please click here.

Click here to view a another clip of inmates and staff at Oregon State Penitentiary talking about their experiences with Transcendental Meditation.

Global Good News will continue featuring results of the Oregon prison study on Transcendental Meditation, including observations of prison staff.


Dominica Prison Takes Up Transcendental Meditation
Foundation for Effective RehabilitationDr Norman Rosenthal

David Lynch Foundation prison programmes
Can TM help fix our prison system?
Inmates dive inward

© Copyright 2011 Maharishi Foundation USA

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