Yoga and Prison
I recently read an article in the LA Times about an ongoing battle of California prison inmates’ constitutional rights and their ability to get taxpayer-funded yoga rooms in the prison facilities.
J. Clark Kelso, the court-appointed overseer of prison health care, plans to spend $8 billion on holistic environments that provide natural light and space for yoga, music, horticulture, and art therapy.California’s Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Attorney General, Jerry Brown, have weighed with a strong opposition to the plan. The controversy stems from the fact that, while the administration believes inmates should get “treatment”, that treatment should not be on the above-mentioned scale envisioned by J. Clark Kelso.
Personally, I feel that money can be spent elsewhere on getting the inmates “ready” to re-enter the real world once they are released. While learning yoga will help them to a certain degree, it will not solve all the problems for them.
On the other hand, as has been proven at a yoga prison camp in India, enabling inmates to learn the mental and physical benefits of yoga may encourage them to get rid of their negative and violent feelings toward themselves and others, and motivate them to develop healthier values and a more respectful and positive outlook on life.
What do you think?
[tags]yoga and prison, constitutional rights, J. Clark Kelso, prison reforms[/tags]
I’m not sure exactly where I stand on this issue, however I know how the simply daily practice of yoga (or even weekly) can have a profound effect on my own life, so I imagine it would also provide clarity and grounding for those living in incarceration.
YogaHub covered this topic in one of their newsletters last year. You can check it out here: