Meditation course helps inmates in Alabama prison

The Donaldson Correction Facility in Bessemer, Alabama, is the only maximum security prison in North America that allows prisoners an opportunity to take a 10-day (10 hours a day) Vipassana meditation course. According to psychologists at the prison, the biggest benefits to inmates is that it allows them to get in touch with their humanity, as well acknowledge their responsibility to themselves and others.

Last week several guests from the prison visited Emory to talk about the program with students and faculty in conjunction with a screening of The Dhamma Brothers.

The YouTube video above features Dr. Ron Cavanaugh, director of treatment for Alabama DOC; Kathryn Allen, PhD, Psychologist, Donaldson Correctional Facility; and Ben Turner, Vipassana Prison Trust.

The visit and screening were sponsored by Emory’s Department of Religion, Graduate Division of Religion, Ethics Center, Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Initiative, Emory Collaborative for Contemplative Studies, Film Studies Department, and Emory Tibet Partnership.

If you attended the talks or screening, we look forward to hearing your comments below.

Emory Report (Feb. 25, 2011) article on the visit and screening


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