This is the second of the films about introducing the Goenka method of meditation into prisons. Last week we saw the first such experiment, carried out in one of the largest prison facilities in the world in New Delhi.
The film today documents its introduction into the American prison system, which began at the Donaldson Cerrectional facility in Alabama in 2002.
Like the earlier film, this one focuses on interviewing the participants as they prepare for their unusual meditational journey, and the results obtained from it.
Many of them are intereviewed and their backgrounds, mainly as violent murderers, are revealed in partial flashbacks to the fateful day.
The programme was successful in getting the prisoners to come to terms with their own violent deeds, and being able to give them a way to cope with their anger in the future.
Many of them kept up the practice after they left the course and the wardens were also impressed with the changes they saw, but not long afterwards, facing opposition from prison chaplains the group sittings were discontinued.
Only in 2006, after a change in the hierarchy, where they again reintroduced, and the second course was provided, with some old inmates and some new.
One thing that struck me is that the prison holds around 1,500 prisoners, the results were apparently good, but at the second course only 18 signed on for the course.
For those who are interested there is also now a book of Letters from the Dhamma Brothers, some of which are quoted in the film.
There is also another film on vipassanā inside the American prison system called Changing from Inside, but I cannot find a copy posted anywhere online.
The original film that was uploaded was taken down and I have had to replace it with this one, which is shorter and subtitled in Myanmar, which occasionally obscures the subtitles in English.
I really think it would be better if these films were supported from the Goenka Foundation so they can be made available freely to all who are concerned with the betterment of people facing incarceration, and also of those who have to look after them.
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