I just received the electonic copy of the international Vipassana Meditation newsletter, and thought I would share this interesting article on the development of meditation courses in US prisons.
Vipassana in North American prisons
Since 1997, the North American Vipassana Prison Project has brought over thirty 10-day residential courses to more than 250 participants at five correctional facilities in North America. These include more than six courses at the Donaldson facility, a maximum-security prison in Alabama and the location for the film The Dhamma Brothers.
An AT who conducted courses at Donaldson in the early days returned there recently and was amazed at the changes in many of the inmates. Even a corrections officer spoke of radical changes evident in some of the most challenging inmates. The course program at Donaldson continues to be a source of inspiration to the outside world and an example to other prisons. The warden of the prison is very enthusiastic about continuing and possibly expanding the program in Donaldson.
Supervising the courses is the North American Vipassana Prison Trust. The Trust holds annual retreats to plan its activities and provide training. It is developing a website linked to the international prison website. Donations may be made on-line for prison activities in either the USA or Canada; income tax receipts can be issued for either country. Both meditators and non-meditators may donate. The website will eventually feature articles, research papers and other prison-related materials.
-- VMC International Newsletter