Many incarcerated prisoners are looking to heal themselves and transform to become a contributing member of society. Options in prison for accomplishing this can be very limiting, creating a downward spiral of lack of confidence and self-worth for the prisoner.
In 1989, a federal prisoner named Fleet Maull, founded the Prison Dharma Network. The mission of the Prison Dharma Network is to provide " a contemplative support network for prisoners, prison volunteers and corrections professionals. The Prison Dharma Network provides the most effective contemplative tools for self-transformation and rehabilitation."
"Yes, meditation opens you to pain and your own vulnerability, but it also brings peace of mind. Prisons are chaotic and stressful. There's hardly any place where you can find quiet. To be able to experience some kind of peace is a tremendous relief."
The Prison Dharma Network began and continues the Books Behind Bars program, providing books on spirituality and meditation to over 25,000 prisoners worldwide. The Path of Freedom program, is a cognitive-behavioral program used to train prison staff and volunteers as well as youth-at-risk. Participants in this program study mindful meditation, nonviolent communication, conflict resolution and other mindful-awareness practices. This program is non-secular and and open faith.
For those who are incarcerated, these practices help them to develop greater self-awareness, improved impulse control, relationship, leadership and communication skills that can help them re-enter into civilian society with greater self-confidence and the ability to contribute as a more self-aware individual.
The list of organizations that are part of the Prison Dharma Network is very extensive and teaches and shares information from yoga, meditation, Buddhism to mindful prayer. All of the organizations within the network believe in spiritual, humanistic, and empowering models to develop self-transformation and rehabilitation.
If you would like to learn more on how to start a prison group, The Prison Dharma Network has a Volunteer Training Manual that can give you tips on getting a powerful program such as this started.
Faith and belief in self-transformation and rehabilitation. Mindfulness and self-awareness can be the path to that transformation.
“I just wanted to say thank you so very much for doing this program. You guys are doing a wonderful thing. I am also going to make sure I take all the online handouts and use this as extensively as possible. :)”