For 14 years, Farrokh Anklesaria’s Enlightened Sentencing Project has trained Missouri parolees in meditation, the Washington Post reports. The organization provides 20 weeks of instruction in Transcendental Stress Management for parolees who have committed a gamut of crimes, including drunken driving, assault and theft. Sudies point to the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation, including one by the National Institutes of Health that indicates regular meditation decreases high blood pressure and depression.
Other studies find merits in meditation programs done in prisons — places that Anklesaria calls “areas of concentrated stress.” No one has formally studied Anklesaria’s program. He’s calculated that of the hundreds who have completed the program, just 6 percent have returned to crime. Judges say it appears to work. Henry Autrey, a federal judge who used the program while serving as a state judge, said offenders he referred to it started passing drug tests, did a better job grooming themselves, and most had “an apparent sense of calm in their eyes.”