Directed by Jenny Phillips
Donaldson Correctional Facility is a maximum-security penitentiary which lies to the south of Birmingham, Alabama. In 2002, the psychologist at Donaldson, Dr. Ron Cavanaugh, decides to make a bold and groundbreaking move to introduce Vipassana practice into the deep South. Inspired by the effective treatment methods of meditation in the Indian prison system, Cavanaugh hires Jonathan Crowley and Bruce Steward, two Vipassana teachers, to conduct a ten-day Vipassana retreat for a group of inmates in the penitentiary’s basketball gymnasium.
Separated by blue tarps and strung-up sheets, the inmates take vows of silence, sit with their thoughts, and witness their long forgotten feelings and emotions well up to the surface.The change in perspective of these inmates is touching and uplifting. Their sense of accomplishment and persistence in their newfound practice gives the audience hope that service-oriented programs involving meditation will be given more time and energy throughout the criminal justice system.
Join director Jenny Phillips and others in the discussion about prison projects and ways to bring vipassana to the penitentiary.