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Sentencing/Post-Conviction

Judges Are Believers in Meditation Program for Parolees

Posted Dec 14, 2009 5:38 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Approached by a stranger business suit who wanted to teach prison inmates in Missouri to meditate, "I thought he was crazy at first," state Circuit Judge David Mason tells the Washington Post.

But now, some 14 years later, Mason has long been persuaded of the wide-ranging stress-reduction benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program overseen by Farrokh Anklesaria under the nonprofit Enlightened Sentencing Project.

And he's not the only judge who has become a fan. After referring parolees without expecting much, U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey of the Eastern District of Missouri was pleasantly surprised to see a significant change for the better. More were passing drug tests, and many seemed calmer and better-groomed, according to the judge.

"It's a beautiful thing to watch and observe when you hear people talking about their experiences who are calm, straightforward, plain-talking and plain-thinking without any confusion," says Autrey, adding "Months before, they would have never been in a position to do anything like that."

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