|In 1975 a course for 120
inmates was conducted at the maximum security Central Jail in Jaipur, India. Subsequent courses
were conducted for life-term convicts, seniors officers and jails officials.
In 1993, a program of ten-day courses was introduced to Tihar Jail, in New Delhi, one of
the largest prisons in Asia, with an inmate population of over 10,000. At the conclusion of a
course for over 1,000 inmates, permission was given for the establishment of a permanent
meditation centre in one of the cell blocks. Now, two Vipasana courses per month are held within
the prison itself.
As a result of the measurable success of these courses, the Indian government
recommended that Vipasana courses be held in jails throughout India. To date, ten-day
Vipassana courses are being conducted regularly at more than 15 prisons in India.
authorities gave permission for a ten-day course to be conducted with a drug rehabilitation prison
in 1996. The course for 182 inmates was the first held outside of India.
In the United States the first Vipassana course to be conducted in a correctional facility
was held in November 1997 at the minimum security North Rehabilitation Facility (NRF) of the King
County Jail in Seattle, Washington. Since then, five courses have been held for both men and women
with more planned. With the success of these courses Federal officials and State authorities in
Texas, Vermont, Massachusetts and California are taking considerable interest in Vipassana for
In Great Britain, in November 1998, eight inmates successfully completed a ten-day
Vipassana course at the Lancaster Castle Prison in Lancaster, UK -- the first prison course in