Did you know that the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country—and since the 1980s, that rate has steadily increased?
Today, over 2.4 million Americans, or one out of every 100 adults, are imprisoned, The cost to incarcerate one inmate is an estimated $65,000/year, well above the median U.S. income. Additionally, more than 50% of released offenders return to prison within three years. At $52 billion annually, this is the second fastest growing budget area within state spending.
Therapeutic yoga and mediation allow inmates to relieve symptoms of deeply rooted trauma that form the basis of criminal behavior. As the grip of past traumas is loosened, inmates find natural calm, becoming less violent and beginning to take grater responsibility for their actions. As a result of therapeutic yoga and meditation, prisons have seen more than a 30% reduction in recidivism rates, fewer rule infractions in prison, as well as decreased criminal thinking, psychological distress, anxiety, depression, and anger.
Hudson County Correctional Facility, Kearny, NJ
Bergen County Jail, Bergen County, NJ
"I have observed that while teaching Yoga at the Hudson County Correction Center my clients experience a discharge of accumulated stress and a reduction of anxiety. The practice helps in developing self regulation, I overheard a client tell another clients how he didn't commit violence against an inmate because he did the breathing exercise I taught him and it calmed him down. I was delighted. I see more emotional stability, a greater sensitivity to self, a clarity in thinking that is less reactive and more conscience.
The physical aspect has an impact providing flexibility and strength building that complementstraditional workouts that the inmates do. Most importantly, I find the clients experience a rewarding sense of accomplishment, relaxation in a traumatic environment and a better mood."
- Tom Filan, Volunteer Yoga Instructor