MBSR in prison

Central Fallacy of all Prison Programs

Prison inmates are prepared and ready to participate in education and work programs

Why is MBSR relevant to  prison?

—Atmosphere of the classroom/work place/Dorm.
—Quality of the student/inmate.
—Ability of the inmate to absorb information.
—Willingness of the inmate to absorb information.
—Willingness of the inmate to work through difficult situations.

Feelings of discomfort are the foundation of one’s developing unskillful habits. The inability to sit with this discomfort leads to:

—acting in (withdrawal, depression, anxiety, physical stress/disease/pain)
—acting out (violence, substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, self-mutilation)

One can learn not to react to discomfort through:

—Exposure to discomfort paired with equanimity (meditation, Hatha yoga)
—Insights into the passing nature of both pleasant and unpleasant experiences

Research shows that changing deeply ingrained habits requires:

—Developing awareness and discontinuing old behaviors
—Establishing and repeating new behaviors
—These occur over a significant period of time (no quick-fixes)

From The Center for Mindfulness website: Research has “consistently documented MBSR as highly effective in teaching participants to become more responsible in the management of their own health, vitality and healing … and has shown dramatic decreases in anxiety, depression, hostility and the tendency to somatize… and an increased ability to cope more effectively with both short and long-term stressful situations.”


In simple words: to engage competently in life.

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