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The introduction of TM into prisons is a relatively new but extremely important project. The US has one of the highest incarceration rates and the cost to incarcerate one inmate is anywhere from $25,000-$66,000 per year depending on the state. In addition, more than 50% of released offenders return to prison within 3 years. Stress rates within prisons are exponential which leads to substance abuse and violence behind bars.

Through the practice of TM, inmates are able to relax and release deep-seated trauma and stress. From the Freedom Behind Bars project in Oregon, by introducing TM to prisoners and guards, anxiety, depression, criminal thinking, and violence rates have decreased. The likelihood of re-incarceration (recidivism) has also been reduced and spiritual well-being, optimism, and purposefulness has been increased. This means that TM improves behavior, constructive efforts while incarcerated, and reintegration into society (reducing the risk of returning to prison).

  • Trauma symptoms
  • Criminal thinking (cognitive errors)
  • Spiritual well-being
  • Recidivism

Oregon State Correctional Institution

Watch Freedom Behind Bars, a documentary video from the David Lynch Foundation on the Oregon Prison Project


Current Research

Currently the prison project is continuing in Oregon