This is a special website related to the courses in Vipassana Meditation as taught by Mr. S.N. Goenka that are conducted from time to time within prisons and other correction environments.
Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka has been successfully offered over the last 25 years within prisons located in Brazil, Canada, India, Israel, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States. Since all courses are 10-days in length and residential in nature, they are held within the walls of a corrections institution with the teachers and the volunteers who are managing the courses living with the prisoners for the duration of the course.
As with all Vipassana courses in this tradition, there are no charges for these courses to the students or the corrections facility – not even to cover the cost of food and accommodation. Expenses are met primarily by donations from people who, having completed a course and experienced the benefits of Vipassana, wish to give others the opportunity to also benefit. However, in the case of courses in prisons, donations can also be accepted from individuals, charitable institutions and governmental entities who wish to contribute toward the rehabilitative goals of these courses.
Because of the focused and intense nature of these courses there are certain requirements that must be observed within the prison during the course and that require cooperation between the prison staff and the Vipassana volunteers. It is strongly recommended, however not necessary that one or more personnel from the correction facility staff take a 10 day course at one of our established meditation centers before the course is conducted at that facility. This will assist the correction staff members to understand and be familiar with what the inmates may experience during the course as well as have a better understanding of the reasons for the course requirements and its rules and regulations.
By way of background, Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2600 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art of Living. Over the last 10 years, the technique of Vipassana has been very successful in reducing the rate of recidivism within prison populations where it has been regularly used. For additional information, corrections officials are invited to contact the North American Vipassana Prison Trust in the United States and Canada or the appropriate Vipassana representatives for all other countries.