Yoga??/ in Prison (Viewed 441 times)
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Re: Yoga??/ in Prison
Reply #1 Posted on January 14, 2017

The prisoners have much time in their cells to think about & practice  yoga and this makes a fine opportunity,  for studying and advancement  in yoga practice.

At what level of prison behavior do the administrators allow them to participate in these yoga sessions, I wonder?


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Re: Yoga??/ in Prison
Reply #2 Posted on January 20, 2017


When I was an Educational Counselor at Red Rock Facility of the Corrections Corporations of America one of the objectives of the Education Department was to encourage inmates to enroll and then attend different types of classes in an attempt to direct them in a positive way in order to subsequently reduce recividism.



Before leaving Arizona I delivered a couple of boxes full of Michael Beloved’s Gita books of the initial hard bound format. The books had to spend time from delivery at the entrance to the library, because they were screening check points and verification they had to undergo for contraband.


The receiving security agents inform the proper administrative leader, in that case the main librarian, who then rechecks the items and takes paperwork to the Assistant Warden of Education & Programs back then Ms. Penny Hart, then possibly Warden Solc, after a couple weeks the books would be available to the inmates.


There were several rehabilitation programs as well as therapy opportunities for inmates, but the challenge remained in getting them to attend in-spite of various incentives to include good behavior bonuses and sentence reduction.


All inmates are allowed to enroll in a variety of learning and rehab possibilities, the only qualifications were based on the particular program. For instance, as an Ed Counselor I administered the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) in order to determine placement in the leveled GED preparation classes.


One might have killed the whole family and the family dog, but still has access. When behavior warrants disciplinary action, an inmate is placed in Segregation (seg.) From there access is limited and required movements from one location to the other are done in chains.


The inmates would only be allowed in the daylight for less than a couple of hours. Inmates in seg have no rec (recreation) time, unlike gen pop (general population) that can access the yard where they can freely socialize, play sports as well as work out on gym on determined schedules.


Some inmates are placed in seg on their request or as a protective measure, in case they fear retaliation. Inmates in the US (and also Russia that I know) want to kill chomos the name for child molesters. So those with molestation charges spend the length of their sentence in segregation, at the risk of mental degeneration, or they are as good as dead.


They wouldn’t be able to attend a group class, but are entitled to what education that can be managed such as written correspondence classes. The librarian would do rounds and also bring them books in their cells (pods) within their mods (name for the different housing buildings).


With outstanding behavior however, an inmate can get a job that will pay around a quarter an hour, tending to the grass, laundry, etc. And, the pay is normally used to make an effort towards obligations for victims or child support.


Actual prisons are violent environments where there is a strict hierarchy and group of allegiances or gangs. There is constant criminality going, that can mean contraband,” home” made drugs and alcohol, gang insignia tattoos, rapes, attacks, retaliations, and even killings. These corrective or disciplinary retaliation and various attacks can be odious, just remembering some make me cringe.


The video of the beating with the shoe would be child play in comparison.  The shoe symbolizes usage by the lowest part of the body and that activity may be an inducement of domination or subjugation. However, it is more likely to be an initiation as gangs typically subject members to various types of vicious corporal punishment in order to officially seal and consolidate the bond to the family.  


Even though as a counselor I had across my desk discussions with individuals who had all the time in the world to ponder deeply and perhaps for good reasons. Hardened criminals are not ordinary minds and may not want to be seen as such or they can become a target in a number of ways. Hopefully some great tool or opportunity for improvement or advancement does not sharpen vicious instincts even more.




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Re: Yoga??/ in Prison
Reply #3 Posted on January 20, 2017

Thankyou so much, Surya for sharing your insights with the experience you witnessed as a counselor in the AZ prison system. Thankfully you are out of that place, away from the constant din of the zoo-like atmosphere of the caged and keepers of the cage.

So yoga and meditation can help some of the prisoners to feel better, make better decisions and develop the capacity to think before acting-all essential in leading positive, crime-free lives once back in the community.