In 2002 psychotherapist Jenny Phillips and others brought Vipassana Buddhist meditation to the Donaldson maximum security prison in Alabama. The prisoner/practitioners who participated in the ten-day silent retreat that year were all serious offenders and many will never be released back into society. The question is would they profit from the training and why bother training people in Buddhism when they would probably never leave the prison? Do the dead-enders in this place deserve anything more than a place to sleep and food and basic medical care? After X number of years in prison isn’t a silent retreat just a way to kill time and get a vacation from the chaos and noise of everyday prison life? The stories behind the prisoners say these are people with a lot of turmoil in their early lives and a lack of education in basic life skills.
A somber and hopeful story.
This book was also turned into a 2007 documentary, available on Netflix.