Please note that this prison project has no formal relationship with Insight Santa Cruz or its Board or teachers, although their support is appreciated.
Correctional Training Facility (CTF), Soledad
A team of volunteer Buddhist chaplains from area sanghas has been serving the Correctional Training Facility (CTF) at Soledad since January 2003. The volunteers meet with male inmates of this large, level-2 prison every Tuesday evening in an interfaith chapel, where they teach and lead mindfulness meditation, give brief dharma talks, and facilitate discussions. The sessions always end with a heartfelt metta meditation.
Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP), Soledad
Members of the Insight Santa Cruz and other bay-area sanghas, acting as volunteer Buddhist chaplains, have facilitated meditation programs at Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) since fall 1999. SVSP is a level-4/maximum security prison. The program runs on Tuesday afternoons and includes Qi Gong, guided meditation, a short dharma talk and discussion, and ends with metta.
Donating to the Prison Project
Donations of dharma books and magazines for distribution to inmates or the SVSP and CTF libraries are always welcome. Such donations may be brought to the Insight Santa Cruz sittings and given to prison mentors who are part of the ISC sangha.
Volunteering for the Prison Project
Sangha members with at least a year of Vipassana (Insight) Buddhist daily sitting practice and who have completed at least one 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat are invited to apply to join this service project. New volunteers are mentored and trained. This experience is quite remarkable and strongly supports Buddhist practice.
There is also a need for practitioners who are available to correspond with Prison Sangha members. See Prison Pen Pal Project for more information.
For information about contributing to the prison project newsletter see: The Sangha Connection.