Prisoners and Guards ‘Should Meditate Together’ Says UK Politician

Mindfulness can help inmates become better citizens, says Chris Ruane.

This week, Labour MP Chris Ruane suggested that meditation could help prisoners learn “gratitude, appreciation, and balance” and become better citizens. Ruane pointed out that the number of inmates has increased while prison staff has decreased.

Ruane’s comments from the Telegraph:

We’ve literally got a captive audience there with prisoners. They’re in there 24 hours a day, what did they do within those 24 hours? Do they learn the skills that mindfulness brings? The skills of gratitude, appreciation, of balance—personal balance and equanimity—which will help them be better prisoners, help them be less violent towards prison guards and help them to be better citizens when they move out into society.

There’s growing evidence to suggest that bringing mindfulness into prisons can help inmates learn the connection between their thoughts, feelings, impulses and behaviors.

Mindfulness is growing in the UK. Last year, Ruane set up a mindfulness course in conjunction with the Oxford Mindfulness Center for MPs to try meditation. The Telegraph reported that 115 MPs have participated thus far. And in May, an all-party Parliamentary Group on Mindfulness launched.

The UK prison population has doubled in the last 20 years.

Photograph by Steve Mays