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Newton's Pendulum


We promote scientific research initiatives to measure the effectiveness of mindfulness practice and mindfulness-based interventions (MBI's) in corrections and to improve the quality of their application and implementation in correctional programming. 


Prison Mindfulness Institute Research Projects

Maull F., Crisp K. (2018) Can Mindfulness Make Prison a Healthier Place?. In: Jeglic E., Calkins C. (eds) New Frontiers in Offender Treatment. Springer, Cham.


Path of Freedom

In 2011 we launched our first research initiative to assess the impact of our Path of Freedom curriculum, integrating mindfulness practice with cognitive-behavioral training and social emotional learning.  A group of fifty men were part of this five-year study in Rhode Island. We are also planning a long term study of the effects of mindfulness on women in prison as well. Preliminary results are sketched out in this document: CFMConference Presentation.

The Impact of a Mindfulness Based Intervention with Women in Prison
: A Feasibility Study, (on PMI’s Path of Freedom Curriculum). Research on Women in Prison (paper) and (powerpoint)


Mindfulness-Based Wellness & Resiliency (MBWR)

Research Summary for the 2015 Mindfulness Training for Community Corrections Staff. Mindfulness and Community Corrections Workshop Evaluation 2015

Summary Analysis of the 2013/2014 Wellness & Resiliency Pilot Program (WRP):

Contrasting Pre-Post Survey Measures Between WRP and a Comparison Group. Oregon DOC MBWR Study

Research Summary and Analysis for the 2012/2013 Motivational Interviewing & Mindfulness Based Emotional Intelligence Staff Pilot Training. Research Report.RI DOC MI & MBEI (Mindfulness) 2012.2013 Pilot Program

Other Research on Meditation & Mindfulness in Prisons

Our Research & Program Evaluation Committee:

  • Brad Bogue, MA, is the primary research consultant for the project. Brad is the founder of Justice Systems Assessment & Training (J-SAT), one of the leading program evaluation, research, and implementation consultancy firms in the corrections field. Brad Bogue and J-Sat have held the NIC management contract for the Norval Morris Project for the past five years.

  • Willoughby Britton, Ph.D., is a faculty member and researcher at Brown University, who will also serve as a research consultant to the project. Dr. Britton is an emerging leader in the field research on mindfulness-based interventions and their impact on the human brain, and human development and behavior, and is in regular contact with the leading researchers in this field.

  • Jennifer Clark, M.D. is an associate professor of medicine and OB/GYN at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the Director of Health Disparities Research at the Center for Primary Care and Prevention at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island. Dr. Clarke is an active researcher and author who has conducted numerous studies including, “Prisons: Learning About Women's’ Health and Substance Abuse.” Dr. Clarke is also a staff physician at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, where she has conducted four federally-funded research programs, including pre-release program impact studies on birth control, HIV risk behaviors, unplanned pregnancies, and tobacco use cessation.

  • K. Vita Pires-Crisp, PMI Executive Director, trainer and mindfulness instructor, will lend her considerable experience in program development and curriculum design as well as her considerable knowledge in the fields of criminology and corrections.

  • Sam Himelstein, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Mind-Body Awareness Project. Sam completed the first published research for the MBA Project as his dissertation, entitled, “A Mixed Methods Study of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention with Incarcerated Youth.”

  • Dr. Jennifer Johnson, PhD., Dr. Johnson earned a B.S. in physics in 1995 and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2004 from Brigham Young University (BYU), attending the Palo Alto VA for her predoctoral internship. Jennifer came to Brown as a postdoctoral fellow in treatment research. She completed a NIDA K23 award at Brown, conducting a randomized clinical trial of group interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT)for women prisoners with co-occurring substance use and depressive disorders. She continues to conduct NIH-funded clinical trials of behavioral interventions for high-risk women.

  • Fleet Maull, MA, Ph.D., will also participate with the research group, lending his extensive firsthand experience of correctional practice to the research group’s planning and implementation process. Fleet also maintains very active contact with the leading researchers in the field of mindfulness-based interventions.

  • David Vago, Ph.D., is an associate psychologist in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He has completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the department of Psychiatry at BWH, the Utah Center for Mind-Body Interactions within the University of Utah Medical School, and the Stuart T. Hauser Research Training Program in Biological & Social Psychiatry. David has previously held the position of Senior Research Coordinator for the Mind & Life Institute and is currently a Mind and Life Fellow supporting the Mind and Life mission by advising on strategy and programs. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences in 1997 from the University of Rochester. In 2005, David received his Ph.D. in Cognitive and Neural Sciences with a specialization in learning and memory from the Department of Psychology, University of Utah.

  • Ashley Taylor Doolittle, Ph.D.: Dr. Doolittle earned her Ph.D. in 2010 from Duke University in Sociology with a specialization in crime and incarceration.  Upon graduating, she pursued a path of applied sociology and is currently the Director of Evaluation and Learning at More Than Words in Boston, a social enterprise that empowers and trains young adults who are court-involved, previously incarcerated, homeless, or out-of-school.  In addition to being an active mindfulness and Vipassana meditation practitioner, Dr. Doolittle has taught and presented on the topics of incarceration and education in the U.S. and abroad.  Currently, Dr. Doolittle is teaching PMI’s Path of Freedom curriculum within the MA DOC.

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