By Kristina Hall
Tattooed prisoners sit in quiet meditation or Yoga poses while incarcerated in prison. Several studies state that inmates who were taught Yoga while in prison were significantly less likely to become recidivists after release. This seems to be especially true with substance abuse offenders.
A 2002 study at Seattle’s North Rehabilitation Facility found that the recidivism rate for inmates who took a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat was 56%, a 25% improvement over recidivism rates for the general inmate population.
In 2002, James Fox introduced Yoga to the San Quentin Penitentiary with the goal of healing addictions, promoting emotional literacy, facilitating conflict resolution, and preventing violence. Thus was born the Prison Yoga Project. The Project believes in restorative justice, by providing prisoners tools for self-rehabilitation. Yoga practices help prisoners realize self-control and foster accountability.