Meditation Course Offers Sanctuary Inside L.A.’s Central Jail


The Los Angeles Times profiles a meditation course held weekly at Men’s Central Jail in the city. Inmates who take the popular course say the techniques for relaxation and self-control are useful in their environs. Bernard Young, 58, who has been locked up since being charged with assaulting his wife a year ago, said he could attribute most of his transgressions to allowing anger to overtake him. A friend in jail suggested he start taking the meditation courses a few months ago. Learning to meditate, Young said, means taking back control.

“When I start thinking bad things, I just start meditating,” he said, pausing to smooth his standard-issue blue jumpsuit. “I need all the help I can get.” The popularity of the classes highlights the stresses of living behind the jail’s painted green bars. Inmates self-segregate among their own racial and ethnic groups, and fights often flare between them. Outside the sanctuary at a recent Friday meditation session, guards patted down one inmate to find a shank the man had styled from scrap metal, wrapped in linen and stuffed in his underpants.

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