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Dramatic decrease in prison violence with Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental Meditation News - UK    Translate This Article
5 September 2011

A recent article highlighted the interrelationships between stress, certain EEG abnormalities, and violent behaviour that were described in a classic book, The Crime Vaccine,* by Jay B. Marcus.*

The book also looked deeply into an effective antidote for this 'General Stress Theory' of crime—the Transcendental Meditation Programme, which has been scientifically documented to reduce stress and promote integrated brain functioning.

Practitioners find Transcendental Meditation deeply refreshing, and research also shows effects of increasing serotonin levels, improving cortisol, stabilizing the autonomic nervous system and reversing other symptoms of stress.

The article includes an excerpt from The Crime Vaccine about one especially powerful example of its application—in maximum security prisons.

''We had some of the toughest groups, or gangs I guess you could call them, in the world at Folsom Prison,'' recalled Ernest Merriweather, a prisoner who learned Transcendental Meditation there. ''There was the Aryan Brotherhood, the Black Gorilla Family, the Mexican Mafia and others. . . . they were bent on destroying themselves and everything else around them. . . .''

Mr Merriweather described the level of violence in the prison before the Transcendental Meditation Programme was taught there, with severe consequences to the most innocuous behaviour: ''. . . if you looked at some of these people the wrong way, . . . or if you talked to someone the wrong way, . . . or if you borrowed a pack of cigarettes from someone and didn't give it back. . . . And [the TM programme] brought us all together. . . .

''It really was a miracle to see some of these tough groups getting together in the same room and embracing one another . . . it's still hard to conceive but it happened.''

Hoyt S. Chambles, supervisor of the Correctional Education Programs at Folsom, added his comments. After Transcendental Meditation instruction, he said, ''there is a calmness and ability to discuss and talk a problem out rather than use physical means to achieve their goals . . . . these men are willing to meet life head on, but without any physical or violent confrontation.''

Folsom Prison's programme of Transcendental Meditation in the 1970s was followed by other successful courses involving 30,000 inmates in Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, Chile, Spain, Paraguay, Mexico, Korea—and, notably, in Senegal, where 11,000 prisoners and 900 correctional officers learned the technique and recidivism fell by 80%, allowing the closure of three prisons.

Source: Social cohesion requires brain cohesion on, the official website for the Transcendental Meditation Programme in the United Kingdom.

For more about current initiatives using the Transcendental Meditation Programme to relieve traumatic stress for prison inmates and staff, visit: David Lynch Foundation.

* Available from Maharishi University of Management Press.

© Copyright 2011 Transcendental Meditation News – United Kingdom

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