Imagine hardened criminals breaking down in remorse for their crimes, and hugging the guards that they hated just a week earlier. That kind of transformation began when mediation was introduced into India’s most notorious prison near New Delhi, India.
Today most of our prisons are just “prisoner schools” where convicts get together and learn how to be better criminals, while taxpayers ironically spend more to keep them locked up than what it would have cost to send them through Harvard University. Most prisons are simply not set up for rehabilitation, much less transformation.
Doing Time, Doing Vipassana is the decade-old documentary film made about Vipassana meditation’s first introduction into prison. While the film definitely has its agenda and makes the transformation seem easier than it is, it’s honest about the technique not being magic and is worth a view if you are interested in progressive prison reform.
Critics argue that prison meditation isn’t possible in America, but a small number of facilities have added 10-day silent meditation courses, and a new film called Dhamma Brothers shows was happens when ‘East Meets West in the Deep South’.