Transcendental Meditation and Offender Rehabilitation:
In September 2003, the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation devoted all four issues of its annual publication to a special volume entitled “Transcendental Meditation in Criminal Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention” (J Offender Rehab 36 (1-4), 2003). This special volume presents a wide range of research showing that the practice of Transcendental Meditation can significantly reduce crime, criminal aggression, violence, recidivism, terrorism, and even international conflict, while simultaneously developing higher levels of psychological functioning—higher states of consciousness—in TM practitioners (see article titles and abstracts below).
The Journal of Offender Rehabilitation is one of the nation’s leading academic journals for research on rehabilitation programs and their impact on prisoners and substance abusers. This special volume was conceived by Dr. Charles Alexander, guest editor and late Institute Senior Fellow and Chair of the Psychology Department at Maharishi University of Management. Dr. Alexander’s groundbreaking doctoral work at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Walpole, Mass., served as the foundation for the project.
The volume begins with a brief review of the teachings and theories of both Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Dr. Alexander about higher states of human consciousness beyond waking, dreaming, and sleeping. It then presents Dr. Alexander’s research on growth of these higher states in prisoners through the practice of TM.
The volume reviews past work on the use of the TM program in rehabilitation, both for prisoners and for substance abusers, and includes two articles on the reduction of recidivism through the TM program. It reviews evidence that crime and criminal aggression are linked to stress-induced abnormalities in the nervous system. It also summarizes two broad-based rehabilitation projects using the TM program—the Enlightened Sentencing Project in St. Louis and the Senegal prison project, in which TM was introduced into a national prison system—and considers possible cost savings from teaching TM to prisoners and prison personnel.
The section on prevention reviews innovative educational approaches utilizing the TM program, including an overview of Consciousness-Based education and the psychological results from projects in the Netherlands Antilles. Also included are research studies on the social impact of large peace-creating groups practicing TM together, including results showing reduced terrorism and international conflict.
Taken together, these articles present a powerful and comprehensive overview of the impact of the TM program on education, crime prevention, adult growth, and the creation of lasting world peace.
Transcendental Meditation in Crime Prevention