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Image by Nick Scheerbart

Guest Speaker: Dr. Ron Cavenaugh, Psy.D.

July 14, 2007

Director of Treatment, State of Alabama Prison System; 3 Videos of Buddhist Meditation used in prison systems...outstanding!

(Last minute rescheduling of Paul Elder to Dec 8, 2007, due to unforeseen difficulty....) DOING TIME, DOING VIPASSANA (52 minutes)

In the mid-1970s Vipassana was first tried within a prison environment
with two 10 day courses being conducted for jail officials and inmates
of a prison in Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Despite the
success of those courses, no further jail courses were conducted in
India for almost 20 years. In 1993 a new Inspector General of Indian
prisons, Kiran Bedi, was appointed and in the process of trying to
reform the harsh Indian penal system, learned of the earlier Vipassana
courses. She requested that additional courses be conducted in the
largest prison in India, Tihar Jail outside of New Delhi. The results
were dramatically sucessful. Based upon the success of these courses,
another course was conducted in April 1994 by Goenkaji and a number of
his assistant teachers for over one thousand inmates of Tihar prison
with wonderful benefit for all of those who participated.

During the following winter of 1994-95, the Israeli filmmakers traveled
to both Tihar and to the Baroda Jail in the India state of Gujarat, at
which Vipassana courses had also been conducted. There they conducted
and filmed extensive interviews with jail officials, including Karen
Bedei, and inmates from many different countries who participated in the
courses. The result of these efforts was an extremely powerful 52-minute
documentary film entitled Doing Time, Doing Vipassana. The film
describes the way in which Vipassana has been sucessfully used within
the Indian prison system to dramatically change the behaviour and
attitude of the inmates and jailers who participated in the courses and,
thereby, improve the entire atmosphere of the prisons.

*Doing Time, Doing Vipassana* has been broadcast in many diverse
international markets including the following stations and networks: PBS
- USA; NHK - Japan; YLE - Finland; TSI - Switzerland; DR TV - Denmark;
Channel 8 - Israel; and TV Poland. The film also recently won the
prestigeous Golden Spire Award at the 1998 San Franisco International
Film Festival. The Festival\'s management wrote as follows about the
jury\'s decision:

\'In giving *Doing Time, Doing Vipassana* its top honour, the jury for
the category stated:

\"The jury was moved by this insightful and poignant exposition on
Vipassana. The teaching of this meditation as a transformation device
has many implications for people everywhere, providing the cultural,
social and political institutions can embrace and support its liberating

This year\'s Golden Gate awards competition was incredibly strong &
close, as we had a over 1600 entries from 58 countries in the 35

DTDV most recently won a \"Silver Plaque\" award in the INTERCOM - The
International Communications Film & Video Competition, in Chicago.

The film also received an award in 1999 from the American National
Council on Crime & Delinquency (\"NCCD\"). NCCD wrote as follows about
its decision to present this award:

\'Congratulations! I am pleased to inform you that you are a recipient
of the NCCD PASS Awards. The National Council on Crime & Delinquency is
honored to recognize your excellence in communicating the complex
problems of crime to the American people. We hope this award will serve
as a contact reminder that your work can make a difference.

A distinguished panel of experts found your work, *\"Doing Time, Doing
Vipassana\"*, to be worthy of recognition and deserving of special
acclaim. This award is presented to members of the media who have made
an important contribution toward raising the public\'s awareness and
understanding of our criminal and juvenile justice system.

For more information, see [ <em> <p>
</p> <p>
<i>Freedom Behind Bars</i> is a short 11 minute video which is excerpted
from the film <i>The Dhamma Brothers</i> and gives some information
about the use of meditation in the maximum security W.E. Donaldson
Prison, in Bessemer, Alabama.
</p> <p>
</p> <p>
The film, entitled <i>Changing from Inside</i> is 42 minutes long. It
was written and produced primarily for an audience of prison
administrators, jail officials, judges, etc. and tells the story of the
introduction of Vipassana meditation courses into the North
Rehabilitation Facility (N.R.F.) of the King County jail in Seattle,
Washington, USA.
</p> <p>
The film attempts to answer many of the questions that come from
corrections officials after they have seen the earlier film entitled
<i>Doing Time, Doing Vipassana,</i> documenting the introduction of this
meditation into the prisons of India, or after the idea of meditation as
a reform measure has been introduced to them.
</p> <p>
In general, <i>Changing from Inside</i> is a compelling account of an
intensive pilot meditation program for inmates at the N.F.R. minimum
security jail near Seattle, Washington. Under the guidance of both
community volunteers and facility staff members, seven women inmates
undertake ten days of total silence. They practice the ancient
meditation technique of Vipassana for ten hours each day, delving ever
deeper into themselves to understand and ultimately master the nature of
their behaviors and compulsions. In the end, they are transformed by
their inward journey and come away with tools to maintain that
</p> <p>
<i>Changing from Inside</i> also chronicles the personal and
professional journey of the articulate, determined facility director,
Lucia Meijer, as she rallies her staff to undertake and implement this
new and unconventional program. Candid interviews among prison staff
reveal a range of reactions, from interest to skepticism. However, the
results achieved by the course prove to be an inspiration to everyone
involved in the project including the participatants, other inmates and
the professional staff, leaving the facility transformed, as well.
</p> </em>][1]


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