Inmates Dive Inward

Incarceration can be a wake-up call for people who commit crime. It can be a time for introspection and evaluation of one’s life—a time to reflect on the past, present, and future. As a result, prison rehabilitation programs often seek to provide skills in self evaluation and self development in order to help prisoners in their quest for greater self-knowledge.

In this three-minute video, Tom O’Connor, Research Manager for the Oregon State Department of Corrections, discusses his views on inmate introspection, and the positive impact of the Transcendental Meditation program on prisoner rehabilitation.

According to Mr. O’Connor many inmates are looking within and searching for an anchor in their lives. Some look to religion or spirituality, others to humanity or secularism for inspiration and guidance. Mr. O’Connor is excited about the Transcendental Meditation technique as a valuable resource for prisoners in Oregon State Correctional Institutions.

In his work with prisoners who have learned the TM technique Mr. O’Connor says that he’s found that the TM program supports them in their search for higher values and meaning in life, and that this happens regardless of the inmates’ religious or personal beliefs. In his words, it’s a technique to “learn more about yourself and get more in touch with whoever you are.”

In 2003, the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation published a special volume of research called “Transcendental Meditation in Criminal Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention.” It presented a range of research showing the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique can reduce prisoner recidivism while simultaneously developing psychological functioning. The research reviews evidence that crime is linked to stress-induced malfunctioning of in the nervous system.

Web references:

Transcendental Meditation in Criminal Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention

Research on Transcendental Meditation at Folsom State Prison in California