Prisons Superintendent pushes transcendental meditation for prisoners

Prisoners at the Dominica State Prison have received the opportunity to learn the art of transcendental meditation, as well as engage in competitive indoor and outdoor sports on the prison’s compound, according to Superintendent of Prisons Algernon Anthony Charter.

In his address at the closing of the January Criminal Assizes at the High Court of Justice on Thursday Charter said the transcendental meditation program which recently started is intended to help change the behaviour of prisoners.

“This will help them to relax …. We hope that it will help them to see and behave differently,” Charter noted.

He assured that this program would not give prisoners the power or ability to abandon the prison grounds.

“The inmates who are going to do transcendental meditation, we give the assurance that they will not leave the prison shores … we offer opportunities hoping that they change their cognition,” Charter said.

“We are also going to start very soon some competitive sports between the inmates, booth indoor and outdoor,” he added.

A skills training program is being conducted at the institution, where prisoners are taught construction.

“We continue to do some skills work with inmates in terms of construction. We are constructing a new kitchen, bakery, mess hall and stall room facility with the help of the inmates,” Charter informed.

He also gave an account of the population of the state prison, stating that 275 inmates are housed there – four females and 271 males.

Sixty-nine males and one female are convicted from the High Court, while 143 males and three females were sentenced at the Magistrate’s Court. Fifty-six males are on remand, including three males standing for trial.

The superintendent said that there are a small number of juveniles enrolled at the prison. They are housed separately from the adults. Charter said that most violent fights occur among  juveniles.

Hermisha Rolle/staff reporter.

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20 Comments

  1. December 19, 2015

    TM is not a good thing. The practice comes from India and is part of Hinduism.

    The person is given a ”mantra” to chant. In reality the ”mantra” is the name of a Hindu god which is actually a demon. Participants rarely know this but as they chant they are actually calling upon that evil spirit to come forth and minister a sense of well being to them. This violates the commandment ”Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

    People who practice TM are opening themselves up to spirits with no control over what kind of spirit will begin to influence them or what it will eventually do in their life. The peace many feel is the natural effect of relaxation and not induced by TM as such. Any other form of meditation without the TM packaging could also help them relax without the spiritual risks.

    Inmates need to be introduced to Christ and His gospel! Read Romans 5:6-8, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, and then Romans 1:16!

    Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. Evangelist.

  2. Jon
    August 8, 2013

    Just when I thought I heard it all…. I haven’t seen so much rubbish in my bloody life!

  3. JohnT
    March 9, 2010

    I hear reported via the TM teachers that the prisoners who have learned are reporting feeling “calmer, less angry, more powerful inside, more in control of their emotions”.

  4. Coubert
    February 25, 2010

    The idea to give TM to inmates is not new. Already in the late 80ies, President Abdou Diouf of Senegal introduced TM in all the prisons of the country as a program of rehabilitation. You may see on Youtube 4 short videos explaining all the positive results here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8OCOFEZlf0
    (It is in French).

  5. SciFiFreak
    February 25, 2010

    Dont see why not I have been practicing TM for a little more than a year and I already see my positive attitude turning into actual deeds. I think its a good idea for those of you who dont know what it is google it before you judge. I think it is a great idea instead of teaching them to do a trade teach them how to leave by a Mantra and meditating will only make that mantra become more a reality. Its a great idea SuperInt atleast you are trying to deal with them by going into there Physch

  6. BetterWorld
    February 21, 2010

    I really appreciate John T’s comment below. Lots of good information there. We want these prisoners to improve so that when they have finished their terms in prison, they can make a better life for themselves on the “outside”. The fewer crimes committed and the fewer people returning to prison is the best thing for all concerned. Please stay on this story and let us know how things develop with this project. Thank you for covering an important topic!

  7. Barahona
    February 21, 2010

    These men and women have committed horrible crimes but we are still one people. We have to help them become better. If TM can help them to have better self esteem and improve their outlook and make them more peaceful, then we should support this thing.

  8. Al
    February 20, 2010

    You see that man that in charge of de prison there . . . I would fire him , he getting too emotionally attached to de inmates them

  9. miss humble
    February 20, 2010

    This is not a good idea. the art of transcendental meditation is not the best.
    Only Jesus can make the difference. these guys need the true word the reedemer.
    Transcendental will only give relief for a while, but wat the lord will give will last forever.
    make wise choices super intendant

    • born again believer
      May 25, 2010

      Am agreeing with you miss humble. TM is just not a good idea. some of us need to study that thing more. TM is invoking spirit, it allow you to make your mind open to any demonic spirit. Is that the best thing you all want for our youth people Mr Charter? make them worst than they are? The devil is already snatching the young men even through the motor bike. so many of them are dieing. They all need to review that Tm thing.

    • December 21, 2015

      miss humble:

      I agree with you.

      JESUS is the only answer to the needs of the prisoners.

      What is needed in the prisons is a strong chaplaincy program with an evangelical (born again) chaplain who will not only do religious functions but point the inmates to Christ by sharing the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 1:16) and explaining to them how to receive Christ as their personal Savior according to John 1:12, and Revelation 3:20.

      This should include a regular Bible study program with the group participating. For example bring in the ALPHA COURSE. This is a non-denominational Christian program that is being used in many settings around the world with great success bringing inner healing and hope to people in every walk of life.

      It can also include gospel hymn singing with the prisoners themselves singing as a congregations, and special Christian music and singing by reputable groups brought in by invitation.

      Continued …

      • December 21, 2015

        During one of my many trips to he Caribbean I preached in a large prison on one of the islands.

        I was shown to an attractive chapel in the prison with scripture texts on the walls with a good crowd of inmates waiting to hear me. I learned how the chapel came to be.

        There had been a well known criminal who had been in an out of the prison many times. Once the warden realized he had not seen Mr. X for a long time. One day the man showed up at the prison with a Bible under his arm and asked to see the warden. He told the warden he had been converted. Yes :!: He had received Christ as his Savior :!: He begged the warden to let him preach to the prisoners :!:

        The warden listened to his story. He checked out the ex-con’s claim. It was true.
        The warden created a chapel in the prison for the man to hold services and share the gospel with the prisoners. The ex-con had an ongoing ministry in the prison and I was preaching in his chapel.

        Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. Evangelist.

  10. JohnT
    February 20, 2010

    Transcendental Meditation has been implemented with great success in prisons. Studies indicate that it produces positive changes in health, personality development, behaviour, and reduced recidivism (rate of return to prison) among inmates. One study of recidivism found that 259 inmates of Folsom and San Quentin prisons and Deuel Vocational Institute in California who learned Transcendental Meditation technique had 35-40% fewer new prison terms compared to the matched controls, whereas it is known that traditional prison education, vocational training, and psychotherapy do not consistently reduce recidivism. A large-scale study of 11,000 prisoners and 900 staff officers in Senegal, West Africa in 1987 found that Transcendental Meditation markedly decreased prison violence, health problems, and that it reduced recidivism to 8%.

    The findings of one study were that anxiety, neuroticism, hostility, and insomnia were reduced among prisoners. There are many studies showing that drug abuse falls away with Transcendental Meditation.

    These troubled people simply become happier by naturally accessing the source of happiness within themselves. There is one story about the introduction of Transcendental Meditation in prisons in the Philippines I remember reading. After their first session the prisoners were asked for their experiences. One joyfully stood up and cried “Más amor!”

    Currently the world-renowned psychiatrist Dr Norman Rosenthal is studying the effect of Transcendental Meditation on US army veterans with PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. Here is a video of one subject’s experience:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ki4c-XkYsM

  11. SPIRIT
    February 20, 2010

    I think that this is a very good idea once it works but the prisoners must be carefully selected and the crime that they committed must be taken into consideration. this wont have much effect if they allready hardcore criminals but give it a try hope it make our prisoners better persons.

  12. shay
    February 20, 2010

    is a good idea bit in a way i feel like they will make them to comfortable with d jail style and they wont be afraid to do stupid tings since jail seem like is a vacation. lets hope it turns out for the best.

  13. DEAD WOMAN ON MSN,,LOL
    February 20, 2010

    WAW…NO WONDER THEY ESCAPING……now all u have them man thinking they at home.Is just like saying come join us lets have some fun …..i guess all u love the fact that ppl keep saying GRAND BAY again!!!!!!! dont make them criminals think that they at home…..eh bein is now stocky going to have ppl i hope all u have space to put all of them……dont no y all u not taking that money to do something better sooooo many ppl out there tht need it

    WHO EVA THINKS THIS IS A GOOD IDEA LET THEY KEEP THEM AT THEIR HOUSE

  14. February 19, 2010

    Hope the guards are fit because a few of your boys look like they going to labour soon.never make dem man feel like they on vacation.

  15. February 19, 2010

    THEY ESCAPING WITHOUT MEDITATION AND NOT BEING FIT.SOON OUR PRISON WILL BE EMPTY.GOOD LUCK.AND DO NOT FORGET,THE DUDE WHO ESCAPE A FEW WEEKS AGO DO NOT LOOK FIT IN THE PIC ….THINK…

  16. Anonymous
    February 19, 2010

    good idea

  17. Marian Jno-Finn
    February 19, 2010

    This is a very good and brave idea. We all need a calmer spirit . Schools should also look into that idea also. An idea for any school teacher is to play classical (eg: Bethoveen) music inthe class room – you will see an improvement in childrens attention span.

    Marian Jno-Finn

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