Thousands of inmates worldwide have taken part in 10-day Vipassana courses in prison.

History and Facts

Vipassana meditation courses were first taught in prisons in India in 1975.  From that time on they have spread throughout the world.  Prison courses have been held in many parts of the world - the Americas, Europe, Asia, New Zealand.  In North America, there have been over thirty 10-day residential courses for more than 250 participants at five correctional facilities.  In Europe, courses have been held in Ireland (2015), Spain (2003), UK (1998) and Israel (2007).

In 1994, the biggest Vipassana course of modern times was conducted in Tihar prison jail (India) with over 1000 participants.  In India, there are several permanent centres in prisons.  With 60-80 courses in over 15 prisons each year, the Indian government advises Vipassana meditation as a standard for social rehabilitation.  Additionally, prison officials and executives take part in Vipassana courses to foster their professionalism and to reduce stress.

Further courses have been realised in Taiwan, Mongolia, Thailand and Mexico.  In North America, a Trust has been founded, dedicated solely to bringing Vipassana meditation into prisons.  To date, thousands of inmates around the world have successfully took part in 10-day prison courses.

Vipassana Prison Course, Minas Gerais, Brazil 2018

Documentary Movies

There are several documentary movies about the implementation of Vipassana into prisons.  They've had successful screenings at international movie festivals.

The Dhamma Brothers demonstrates how Vipassana is brought to a maximum security prison in Alabama, USA in 2002.

Changing From Inside shows the ongoing work of a regular prison programme 1997-2002 in the NRF prison in Seattle, USA.

Doing Time Doing Vipassana is a record of the 1994 Tihar prison course in India with more than 1000 participants.

More about Vipassana in Prisons