Epoch Times Article on How Yoga and Meditation Affect Recidivism

Updated: May 26, 2020


Bilal-Chatman-Former-Inmate-at-San-Quentin-State-Prison-copy-676x450

After serving 17 years for armed robbery, Adam Verdoux, 45, moved into transitional housing. Not long after his release, a burly housemate challenged him to a fight. Feelings of masculinity, pride, survival, rose then dissipated. Verdoux knows how to disengage from heated situations: He meditates three times a week.

“I told him I’ve been trying to learn how to resolve issues without the use of violence,” Verdoux said. “I would try to work through it with him positively.”

It’s been two years since Verdoux was released. He is taking six classes at the Institute For Principle Studies in California, and plans to get a master’s in public administration.

He’s come a long way since his series of armed robberies when he was 26—and wanted to die. Suicide by cop was the plan.

To his disappointment at the time, the police let him live. After 11 years behind bars, including 4.5 years in solitary confinement, Verdoux was released. He took a trip to California for a music festival but ended up robbing a Bank of America instead. He returned to prison for another 6 years.

It was at San Quentin State Prison in California that Verdoux took a class with James Fox, the founder of Prison Yoga Project, and a switch flipped in his mind.

“Yoga really allowed me to work on core issues,” Verdoux said.”It played a huge part in my change. It really facilitated that process.”

There are various rehabilitative programs in U.S. prisons such as education, therapy, and drug treatment. But during a time when the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 76.6 percent of released prisoners are rearrested within five years, a number of correctional facilities are considering incorporating yoga as well.

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