Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Yoga in Prison

I have been hearing great things about the program at Lookout Mountain. It gives kids a chance to learn more about themselves, master the art of self-control and think about things from a different perspective. Kudos out to CCJRC member Kate Crisp for her ongoing work.

LANSING, Kan. (AP) -- Lama Chuck Stanford started visiting a small group of Buddhist inmates in Kansas about six years ago.

"Then word got around that I was doing this," Stanford says, "and I started getting calls from prison chaplains around here telling me they had Buddhist inmates interested in getting groups going."

Now Stanford serves four prisons -- the Lansing Correctional Center, the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in Leavenworth, and two state prisons in Missouri. He's on the road two days a week, most days serving groups of 10 men at each prison.

Stanford is among a quietly growing number of Buddhist teachers working in U.S. prisons, tending to inmates who had been raised Buddhist or who discovered the ancient faith later, many while incarcerated.

U.S. prisons are also offering meditation and yoga for their general populations.

The Prison Dharma Network in Boulder, Colo., leads yoga and meditation and also sends books and correspondence to inmates U.S.-wide and around the world.

The Buddhist Peace Fellowship in Berkeley, Calif., has meditation, yoga, and journal-writing programs in several California prisons, and the National Buddhist Prison Sangha in Mt. Tremper, N.Y., has been supporting prison inmates since 1984 with visits, letters and reading material.

Kate Crisp, executive director of the Prison Dharma Network in Boulder, Colo., teaches yoga, meditation and peacemaker classes at the Boulder County Jail.

Her organization also teaches classes on meditation at the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center in Golden, Colo. The facility is Colorado's only long-term maximum security youth correctional facility for boys.

It took a couple years to convince corrections officials that Prison Dharma Network could be of some help at Lookout. The youths at Lookout, who range in age from 14 to 21, "have never experienced anything like meditation in their lives," Crisp said.

"They've always been worried about 'Who's going to get me? Who's going to shoot me?' Now it's 'Oh my God, there's a place where I can relax. I have a choice.' It slows them down from the constant pounding in their heads."

Read the Article here

No comments: