For the First Time, Washington Prison Inmates To Teach Mindfulness to Others Behind Bars

Updated: May 26, 2020

Nate, second from right, leads a mindful movement exercise, a component of every class. Photos by: Terry, an inmate at Washington Correction Center in Shelton, Washington.

Four Washington state prison inmates are making history by becoming the first inmates certified to teach Path of Freedom, an emotional intelligence program based on mindfulness meditation.

As certified trainers the four are starting to teach the 12-week curriculum to other men behind bars. The Path of Freedom program was developed by the Massachusetts-based Prison Mindfulness Institute.

These enthusiastic and dedicated men are venturing into uncharted territory.

Path of Freedom has been taken into prisons across the U.S. and Europe for many years, but only by outside volunteers who pay for and complete a six-week online training course.

This initiative is important because prisoner-facilitated classes have the potential for “growing” the program and getting it to a greater number of people behind bars, both men and women. Outside volunteers often encounter a variety of time constraints that conflict with the needed 12 weeks of consecutive attendance. Other factors like inclement weather can also result in the cancellation of volunteer-facilitated classes. READ MORE

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