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Vipassana Meditation in Prisons

In March 1993, a woman named Kiran Bedi became Inspector General of the Tihar Jail in New Delhi, the largest prison in India holding nearly 10,000 inmates. In her search for a technique of rehabilitation which would not only prepare her inmates for a sucessful return to society but also render the prison environment more peaceful and harmonious, she learned about Vipassana and its prior use in prisons. The first 10 day Vipassana course was taught within the Tihar Jail in 1994.

Many other courses followed for both men and women, including a course for over 1,000 inmates, one of the largest courses ever held in modern times. Vipassana courses are currently being held in three U.S. correctional facilities: the W. E. Donaldson Correctional Facility, a level 6 maximum-security state prison in Bessemer, Alabama, near Birmingham; the San Francisco Jail, which was very successful; and the North Rehabilitation Facility (N.R.F.) a minimum-security facility of the King County jail system in Seattle, Washington. The Dhamma Brothers, an independent  film about the development of  meditation in an Alabama maximum security prison, debuted in 2008.