Serving a Sentence, yet Renewing Life

"This essay began as a letter to my wife. She suggested I share it with others, and so I am sending it to you in hopes it can be of use."- In Peace, Mario Easevoli

A snapshot from the decommissioned Freemantle Prison in Western Australia. Photo ©

I find it rather confusing and a near outrage that we—society—would lock up so many people people, basically forget about them, offer them nearly zero in the way of “rehabilitation” and then expect them to magically and joyfully, gently slide back into the mesh of society upon their release.

How is anyone expected to achieve this? It’s hard enough to live as it is; juggling this issues of daily life, with its endless choices and unexpected twists and turns. And we expect those accustomed to living in violent, angry, depressing conditions where nearly every choice has been stripped away, to do it without fail. No wonder the recidivism rate is so high.

I suppose a challenge is how to provide the necessary teachings and exercises and, furthermore, how to encourage them to study and practice. One would think, with all of the resources at the government’s disposal, defining and implementing legitimate, helpful solutions wouldn’t be too difficult.

Actually, one of the most difficult—but certainly the most rewarding—practices for me while being incarcerated has been meditating in what could be considered one of the most undesirable environments to do so. Most here would call it hell.

Imagine in one corner of…