Doing Time, Doing Vipassana
In the mid-1970s Vipassana was first tried within a prison environment with two 10 day courses being conducted for jail officials and inmates of a prison in Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Despite the success of those courses, no further jail courses were conducted in India for almost 20 years. In 1993 a new Inspector General of Indian prisons, Kiran Bedi, was appointed and in the process of trying to reform the harsh Indian penal system, learned of the earlier Vipassana courses. She requested that additional courses be conducted in the largest prison in India, Tihar Jail outside of New Delhi. The results were dramatically sucessful. Based upon the success of these courses, another course was conducted in April 1994 by Goenkaji and a number of his assistant teachers for over one thousand inmates of Tihar prison with wonderful benefit for all of those who participated.
During the following winter of 1994-95, the Israeli filmmakers traveled to both Tihar and to the Baroda Jail in the India state of Gujarat, at which Vipassana courses had also been conducted. There they conducted and filmed extensive interviews with jail officials, including Karin Bedi, and inmates from many different countries who participated in the courses. The result of these efforts was an extremely powerful 52-minute documentary film entitled Doing Time, Doing Vipassana. The film describes the way in which Vipassana has been sucessfully used within the Indian prison system to dramatically change the behaviour and attitude of the inmates and jailers who participated in the courses and, thereby, improve the entire atmosphere of the prisons.
Doing Time, Doing Vipassana has been broadcast in many diverse international markets including the following stations
and networks: PBS - USA; NHK - Japan; YLE - Finland; TSI - Switzerland; DR TV - Denmark; Channel 8 - Israel; and TV Poland.
The film also recently won the prestigeous Golden Spire Award at the
1998 San Franisco International Film Festival. The Festival's management wrote as follows about the jury's decision:
'In giving Doing Time, Doing Vipassana its top honour, the jury for the category stated:
DTDV most recently won a "Silver Plaque" award in the INTERCOM - The International Communications Film & Video Competition, in Chicago.
The film also received an award in 1999 from the American National Council on Crime & Delinquency ("NCCD"). NCCD wrote as
follows about its decision to present this award:
'Congratulations! I am pleased to inform you that you are a recipient of the NCCD PASS Awards. The National Council on Crime & Delinquency is honored to recognize your excellence in communicating the complex problems of crime to the American people. We hope this award will serve as a contact reminder that your work can make a difference.
Doing Time, Doing Vipassana is also proving to be a very effective tool in bringing about the introduction of Vipassana meditation courses into the prison systems of other countries. Such courses have now been given in the prisons in the United States and in other countries with wonderful results.
Video cassette copies of this film is currently available for purchase in North America from The Pariyatti Book Service, in Australia/New Zealand from Dhamma Books and in Europe from Book, Video & Tape Service.