Prison & Probation
Mindfulness & Criminal Justice
The UK prison system is in crisis. We’re locking up more people and cutting funding. A prisoner dies in custody every three days.
What if prisons helped people find new ways to see their lives and resond to challenges? What if we enagaged with their potential, not just their offence?
We’re pioneering bringing mindfulness-based teaching in UK prisons and probation settings. Through 2017 and 2018, we’re working on three Randomised Controlled Trials for men on probation, prisoners and prison staff using material that’s geared to these populations. If the trials are successful, we hope to offer mindfulness training much more widely throughout the system.
Vishvapani worked on Mindful Nation UK, the report by The Mindfulness All Party Parliamentary Group, which looks at the contribution mindfulness can make to Criminal Justice, along with other key policy areas. He continues to work with policy makers and is a member of the Mindfulness Steering Group in the HM Prison & Probation Service.
Path of Freedom & Breathe Free
Our courses for offenders are based on the Path of Freedom programme developed by Fleet Maull of the US-based Prison Mindfulness Institute. The material speaks directly to the situation that offenders are in and combines meditation with reflection on behaviour, identity and ethics. We’ve adapted the Path of Freedom into a shorter course we call Breathe Free, which also has elements drawn from Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).
Mindfulness in Probation Programme
Vishvapani has been working with National Probation Service since 2013 on bringing mindfulness into probation settings. We ran three pilot courses in Approved Premises in South Wales. Now we’re running a larger Mindfulness in Probation RCT in South Wales with funding from the HM Prison and Probation Service Innovations Fund.
We took Offender Managers through a mindfulness course, attuning them to our approach and helping them work more mindfully. Now we’re running a total of eight courses in Swansea and Newport for men who’ve recently been released from prison using the 6-week Breathe Free Programme.
The Offender Managers are supporting the men in applying what they learn and sustaining it after the course finishes.
Mindfulness for Prisoners & Prison Staff
Between Summer 2017 and Spring 2018 Vishvapani is teaching three 8-Week Path of Freedom courses in Parc Prison near Bridgend for men in the enhanced prisoner unit. We’re working closely with staff from Parc, who are excited by what mindfulness can offer.
At the same time we’re teaching a series of 8-week mindfulness for prison staff. Prisons are stressful environments for everyone and the profession faces many difficulties. We’re testing whether mindfulness can help.
We’re open to dialogue with other prisons, probation services and others in teh Criminal Justice system. Please contact us