I am sharing information on a meditation program I developed and ran and very much welcome queries and feedback.
The Kindness Project
Objectives of the program were for inmates to better discover and understand themselves, to give them tools for managing emotions, and for them to grow in inner peace. The components of the program included yoga, meditation practice, readings and poetry, journaling, circles for reflection and sharing, experiential activities, and films.
The classes were offered for six weeks with a break between series. Ten series were accomplished from October 2008 to July 2010. When the program ended, there were three yoga classes, and five meditation classes (two advanced) per week. Yoga classes ran for 1 ½ hours, meditation for 2 ½ hrs.
The weekly themes were: Who We are/Why We’re Here, Self-Discipline, Honesty, Kindness, Forgiveness, and Spreading Loving-Kindness. Inmates applied and in February 2010 there were over 170 applications. Four yoga teachers assisted, three other volunteers helped to implement meditation classes. Materials provided free to the inmates included pens, folders, journals and We’re All doing Time by Bo Lozoff. There was an extensive lending library exclusively for the meditation students. This was not a religion class. It was intended to be non-sectarian and drew from truths and practices from many religions and philosophies.
Evaluations (comments) by the meditation students were compiled and analyzed from the beginning. Starting in June 2009, pre and post data was collected as the program evolved into a research project. Results for both evaluations and assessments were excellent (see abstract of unpublished paper). There was an unsuccessful attempt to have meditation classes for officers. Free yoga for correction officers at a popular local studio was arranged. Advanced meditation classes included administration of the MBTI.
Abstract: "Meditation in a County Jail" (paper)
The author developed, taught, and evaluated a meditation and yoga program offered to the general population at an east coast detention center. Between October 2008 and July 2010, she conducted 32 beginner classes that met once a week for 6 weeks. Students included minimum, medium, and maximum security level inmates. Their mean age was 33.6 years. Although the program was not designed as a research project, instruments used for instructional purposes proved to be useful in assessing the outcomes. Students self-reported their levels of maturity and of inner peace both before and after completing the course. Pre and post data on maturity was collected from 113 students and on inner peace from 138 students. Mean scores increased 11.1 % on maturity and 15.9 % on inner peace. Improvements for men and women were similar. In addition, feedback evaluation forms in comment format were completed by 224 students.
Contact: JoAnna Allen email@example.com