Tampa Bay prison meditation projects affiliated with the Buddhist Peace Fellowship (There is no BBF prison work, but the Tampa Bay BPF website does have a recently updated prison information page:
Prisons Served: Hardee Correctional Inst, Bowling Green FL – Sponsored by Southern Palm Zen Group, Boca Raton FL (http://floridazen.com/prison/). Three other volunteers also regularly visit with this group – usually one volunteer each week.
Avon Park Correctional Institution, Avon Park FL, Sponsored by Hokori Zen Center, Lakeland (http://www.hokorizencenter.org/). One other volunteer also visits. One or both of us visit monthly.
Since 1998 the Center has provided instruction in the practice of Zen meditation to inmates in federal, state and county facilities throughout North Central Florida. Currently, twelve prisons and jails participate in the prison outreach program, in which approximately 400 inmates are served annually. Through instruction and study of Zen meditation that emphasizes high personal standards, participants are given the tools to cultivate a strong, life-affirming self-image that looks beyond the stigma of “convict” to view themselves as individuals with much to offer others and the community as a whole.
Our programs can be divided into five areas:
Secular, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) groups and retreats.
Possible residency at the Gateless Gate Zen Center for individuals who have exhibited a strong commitment to the practice and to educational efforts.
The death row ministry, which consists of individual visits and counseling
Prisons Served: Federal Correctional Complex in Coleman
The teachings and practices of Siddha Yoga are brought to incarcerated men and
women through the Siddha Yoga Meditation Study Courses. The 17 year long Course
lessons describe in simple, down-to-earth language the timeless, transformative wisdom
of yoga. Lessons are received monthly and are free of charge to all who are
incarcerated. They are available in Spanish translation on request. Persons of all
spiritual and religious persuasions are invited to participate. Nearly 5000 inmates are
enrolled in the Courses in over 900 prisons in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Italy, the U.K.,
Interested inmates can enroll in the Courses by writing to: Prison Project, PO Box
99140, Emeryville, CA 94662. The Prison Project web page is at:
Operates three groups in maximum security prisons in Florida: Hardee C. I., Bowling Green; South Bay C.I., South Bay; and Glades C.I.; Belle Glade. Cushions and altar materials have been accepted by the chapels and are used to create a zendo when programs run. In one of the prisons the group’s relationship with the administration has allowed the men to meet daily. Visits every two weeks and full day programs every 2-3 months. Many sangha members correspond with inmates and assist those who have been released.
Yoga 4 Change has a mission of promoting healthy living and fostering self confidence in Veterans, inmates, at-risk youth and those suffering from substance abuse through the teachings and practices of Yoga.
We are a network of volunteers giving classes to prisoners and other
populations in need. Men and women of all ages and all physical and
mental conditions participate.