Not too long ago we saw Indian prisoners rewarded with early release for a regular incarcerated yoga practice. But now taxpayers in The UK are getting quite infuriated over footing the bill for life-sentence serving outlaws and criminals to find their inner chi. Naturally, families of victims are even more aghast at the idea.
“You have to wonder what they will make of it all. It’s a bit rich for life-sentence prisoners to enjoy yoga while serving their sentences,” the Sun quoted a prison source as saying.
Do you agree? We’re reminded of last year’s controversy in CA over “yoga rooms” being included in a new prison budget (they slashed the rooms and kept the yoga). We can hardly afford our own yoga, who wants to pay for prisoners? But, we’ve seen reports on the positive impact of yoga on repeat criminals, encouraging their new practice to remain outside prison walls. Fortunately, there are organizations like Prison Yoga Project and upstanding and courageous citizens who are volunteering their time to teach yoga in correctional facilities, rehabilitation centers and minimum security prisons. Do we feel comfortable with paying for death row inmates to get in their daily sun salutes? Hell no. But tell us what else we’re funding in prisons and we’d probably get pretty pissy about that too. Then we go to yoga.
Coincidentally: Amanda Knox, the gal serving a 26-year sentence for being convicted of killing her roommate in 2007, is in the news for speaking to the Italian press, describing her daily prison routine: yoga, letter-writing and volleyball.
Just for kicks and pissers, here’s a Forbes List from 2009 of America’s 10 cushiest prisons.
It is sad that this is even an issue. Yes, yoga may seem cushy for some, but yoga can also bring up some very intense emotions & deep-seated emotional problems. Practicing yoga is not just stretching, but that painfully common misconception is still rampant.
of course they’re pissed. because people don’t want to pay for prevention, just like our health care system. instead of insurance companies paying for prevention such as yoga, meditation classes, alternative therapies, etc., they would rather pay AFTER the fact when people are sick and dying. there is no profit in keeping people well.
just think of the stink there would be if tax money went to prevention programs (like yoga or meditation programs) for at-risk youth. there’s no profit in that. there’s profit in jails.
keep ’em comin’.
Yeah, let’s just punish the bad people for doing bad things, because the rest of us are good people who would NEVER do those bad things that got the bad people put in jail where they belong…
At least, that’s how I imagine the thought process goes. It’s certainly not how I feel. I’m with Linda. People like seeing something tangible, even if it’s something not so great, like people being sent to jail.
It gives them a way to differentiate themselves and say “That’s not me”. Right. Of course not. Because somehow “good” and “bad” are separate races of people, are they?
Nevermind the cost of yoga classes for prisoners. Nevermind that even if a handful of those prisoners who do yoga start to see the world differently as a result of their yoga practice, and that when they get out, they start to live a different life. Let’s not count of the cost of that, because what do all of those Mastercard ads say? It’s priceless.
Methinks all these people protesting about helping people in jail work on ways to not have to return there need a good hug and a dose of compassion injected into their hearts.
But only if it doesn’t cost too much, right?
I’m moved by the compassionate people who comment here. I am an activist for the Innocence of Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito which brought me to this article and I’m tired of reading posts by people that not only live to “hate” on convicted criminals without understanding the true story, but thee is a huge lack of the use of compassion in our world. Everything you all have said is enlightening and true, but I feel especially close to what Linda says. I hope the few of us left on earth who recognize these flaws of the people stirring in anger and resentment wake up before it’s too late…
I too am moved by everyone’s comments. If only the rest of the world could be half as compassionate, and ACT on it by encouraging others to do the same. YD readers (and lurkers) are the absolute finest. xo
I sincerely doubt prison life is fun and games. When will people learn not to believe everything the media says? It was 106 F in the prison and the prison has no air conditioning. Does that sound like fun time to you? Get real.
Benjamin Franklin said “believe half of what you see and none of what you hear”.
exactly. AS IF prisoners are on a yoga retreat! how long is a class, one hour at the most? people should be happy they are doing yoga in prison — maybe it would cut back on fights, rapes, and guard attacks.
and repeat customers.
it is a very difficult thing to convey to non yogis. my teacher is a prison yoga instructor, and i wanted to be one as well, unfortunately, due to a schedule conflict right now, it is on hold. it is a very difficult thing for student and teacher. the teachers are volunteering their time – at least – here they are. the students want to change, they want to be inspired to break through what is binding them, and for people to turn their noses up at that is so disappointing to me. it seems to me that these people have an ‘i’m okay, you’re NOT okay’ attitude about prisoners. as if being human, and making mistakes is something that only these prisoners are guilty of. it’s very hypocritical and saddening. but, there are plenty of people who do have faith in humanity to change, to be the change, to help facilitate the change, and hell, to even help pay for that change. so, let’s keep being that change.
I am a yoga teacher right now and am interested in working at a prison yoga program. Is it paid or volunteer?