In 1997 an instructor by the name of Tara Stiles began offering T’ai Chi Chih (a hybride T’ai Chi/Qigong form) inside of Folsom State Prison. Justin Stone, the originator of T’ai Chi Chih, was so supportive of this kind of work that in 1998 he personally paid a visit to the prison and gave a lecture to the men there.
In 1998 Judy Tretheway took over the Folsom class and taught it for the next 13 years. I met Judy in 2009, and became her assistant. In 2011 Judy retired and I have been teaching the weekly class there ever since. (Please see my blog entries.) It has changed me in ways I never anticipated, and I am so grateful for the opportunity and the experience.
Folsom Pathways Sangha is the Buddhist community at Folsom State Prison, Folsom and California State Prison, Sacramento. There is one sangha at Folsom, also known as Old Folsom — and two sanghas at SAC, also known as New Folsom. The entire community consists of 15 volunteers and approximately 75 inmates. Volunteers and inmates represent the three major Buddhist traditions. Our focus is to provide the men the opportunity to practice meditation and mindful movement, and to experience the Buddhist path as a way to experience freedom, even while incarcerated.
Both Buddhist meditation weekly sessions. Buddhist meditation consists of 30-minute sit, 50-minute discussion, and 10-minute sit at the end, drawing from a variety of traditions. A Japanese sensei comes monthly.
GETTING OUT BY GOING IN (GOGI) offers low cost and donor-funded inmate self-study and group study programming to achieve the goal of release preparation and lowered recidivism rates. GOGI is respected as an authority in prisoner leadership training, education for maximum security and specialized demographics of prisoners.
Offices in California, programming nationally.
Insight Prison Project was founded in 1997 with one class for 14 male prisoners at San Quentin State Prison. Today, IPP offers unique and effective programs for thousands of men, women, and youth at 15 state prisons, three county jails, several reentry facilities, and one juvenile institution.
We are a restorative justice based organization that goes into prisons to offer programs about accountability, empathy, emotional intelligence, and restorative justice.
Insight-Out organizes initiatives that create the personal and systemic change to transform violence and suffering into opportunities for learning and healing.
Our mission is to provide services and self-development opportunities to prisoners and challenged youth and empower them to positively transform their predicament.
In 1997, Jacques Verduin founded the Insight Prison Project (IPP). Under Verduin’s leadership, IPP pioneered innovative in-prison rehabilitation programs designed to create transformational change among prisoners at California’s San Quentin State Prison and prepare the men to become worthy and contributing members of the community upon leaving prison. The programs at San Quentin continue to reach 300 prisoners a week.
In 2011, Jacques founded ‘Insight-Out’ (ISO), a community initiative that employs selected former prisoners, trained inside San Quentin in the areas of emotional literacy, violence prevention and mindfulness.
These men (whom we proudly call, “Change Agents”) specialize in: 1. Working with troubled youth in the communities of the SF Bay Area. (Youth centers, high schools, etc.). 2. They are also ideal candidates for training their brothers and sisters, who are still locked up, in these programs that offer a path on how to transform their lives.
Jarvis Jay Masters is a widely-published African American Buddhist writer living on San Quentin’s Death Row. His book “Finding Freedom,” has been praised by Angela Davis and Pema Chodron, and is being used in classrooms as a teaching tool to show children an alternative to violence. An important aspect of Jarvis’ life on Death Row has been his Buddhist practice. At this website read about how Jarvis became a Buddhist, and how meditation has changed his life and affected the lives of his fellow prisoners.
Prisons served: San Quentin’s Death Row
Outreach activities provided by Kadampa Meditation Center San Francisco include:
1) Sending Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s books to inmates in jail and prisons around the country and the world who request them.
2) Providing meditation classes to inmates at San Bruno Men’s Jail and SF Women’s Jail.
3) Providing meditation classes to residents and staff at A Woman’s Place homeless drop-in center, Atria Senior Housing, Agesong University Senior Housing, St. Francis Memorial Hospital, and members of the Tenderloin Boys and Girls Club.
Liberation Prison Project offers spiritual advice and teachings, as well as books and materials, to people in prison interested in exploring, studying and practicing Buddhism. A Tibetan Buddhist organization and social services project affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, since 1996 the project has supported the Buddhist practice of over 20,000 prisoners. Active mainly in the U.S. and Australia, where we are established as nonprofit organizations in San Francisco and the Australian Blue Mountains, we also have branches in New Zealand, Spain, Mexico, Mongolia and Italy.
To help youth transform harmful behavior and live meaningful lives through mindfulness meditation and emotional awareness.
Founded in 2000, MBA designs, delivers and researches mindfulness and emotional literacy programs for at-risk youth. MBA also trains educators and youth service providers nationally and internationally.