The origins of criminal behavior, while difficult to pinpoint precisely, can often be traced back to the long-term impact of traumatic stress. Unless a rehabilitation program effectively targets the underlying cause, too often rehabilitation proves ineffective, and incarceration and recidivism rates continue to climb resulting in considerable pain and suffering for the victims of crime, significant expense to taxpayers, and substantial waste of human potential to those incarcerated.
Transcendental Meditation has been taught with significant benefit to inmates in some of America's toughest prisons, including San Quentin, Folsom, and Walpole. By increasing an individual's stress-coping ability, enhancing clarity of thought and developing self-esteem, meditation is a cost-effective supplement to traditional rehabilitative programs. Numerous studies have shown that inmates who learned TM demonstrated a decrease in violent behavior, stress, aggression, and recidivism.
More than a dozen studies have been conducted on meditation in correctional settings. Results of research have shown reduced psychological distress, decreased rule violations, decreased substance usage, and lower recidivism rates. According to a five-year Harvard study investigating the effects of the TM technique in a maximum-security prison, violence throughout the prison decreased, and the rate of recidivism among participating inmates was 30-35% less than for four other treatment groups.