Doing Time, Doing Vipassana – A film by Aylet Menahemi and Eilona Ariel

India, 1997, 52 minutes. Vipassana Research Institute. Karuna Films.

This award-winning documentary takes viewers into India’s largest prison – known as one of the toughest in the world – and shows the dramatic changes brought about by the introduction of Vipassana meditation. This is a story of a strong woman named Kiran Bedi, the former Inspector General of Prisons in New Delhi. It tells how she strove to transform the notorious Tihar Jail, once a hellhole of crime, into an oasis of peace. It is a story of an ancient meditation technique called Vipassana, as taught by S.N. Goenka, which helps people to take control of their lives and channel them towards their own good and the good of others. Most of all, it is the story of the prison inmates who underwent profound change, and who realized that incarceration is not the end but possibly the beginning of a new life.

The Dhamma Brothers – A Film by Jenny Phillips, Ph.D.

USA, 2007, 1 hour, 17 minutes. Balcony Releasing and Freedom Behind Bars Productions.

The Dhamma Brothers documents the extraordinary convergence of an overcrowded, understaffed, maximum-security prison – considered the end of the line in the Alabama correctional system – and an ancient meditation program. The film tells a dramatic tale of human potential and personal transformation as it follows the stories of 36 prisoners, focusing on 4 central characters, as they enter into this arduous and intensive program. In the nameless, faceless, anonymity of prison life, where daily life is ordered around social control and punishment, The Dhamma Brothers construct an alternative social identity based on brotherhood and spiritual development.

Vipassana – The Path of Liberation – A Film by Daniel Labanca

Brasil, 2019, 19 minutes (Portuguese with English Sub-Titles)

For the first time in Brasil a prison opens its doors and introduces the technique of Vipassana meditation into its facility. India and the United States have been conducting courses in such facilities for decades with positive results.

With the authorization of the Brasilian government this is now a reality in Brasil, the course was conducted at Ribeirão das Neves Jail (State of Minas Gerais) where this documentary was filmed. “Vipassana, o caminho da libertação” explains the technique and brings to the viewer of the documentary the challenges and the transformation that occurs in the words of the inmates and the volunteers who participated in the course. Ambiance of the prison can be felt through the scenes and with testimony given of the practice of vipassana meditation there the viewer can see the direct results on the inmates behaviour, perceptions and giving them a new technique to assist them with their daily lives as well on their recuperation.

Vipassana in Mongolian Prisons – A documentary film by Shirendev Sorlig

Mongolia, 2019, 41 minutes

S.N. Goenka Metta Day Talk at Donaldson Correctional Facility

USA, 22002, 20 minutes

Silence Island – Prison Course in Brazil, 2018

Brazil, 2019, 41 minutes

In August 2018, the second Vipassana meditation course was realized in Brazil in maximum security prison “Potim I”, located in the São Paulo state.