The chart above shows how $26 billion in savings accumulate as the Transcendental Meditation program is taught throughout the U.S. federal and state prison systems for a period of five years. The savings in the last column include years six through ten. These savings result from: 1) a 40% reduction in recidivism, 2) a 50% reduction in staff and inmate medical utilization, 3) a reduction of 16% in the staff-to-inmate ratio, and 4) an average reduction of one month in the sentence served. These are all very modest estimates when compared to the changes experienced when the Transcendental Meditation program was implemented nationwide in the Senegalese Penitentiary System
Individual states vary widely in the amount that they spend per prisoner for corrections. The chart above shows the cumulative savings over a six-year period for a typical group of 100 inmates learning the Transcendental Meditation technique at the beginning of year one. In the chart, the national averages for incarceration cost, average length of stay, recidivism rate, staff expenses, and health care costs have been used to project the typical savings. These savings--in excess of $1.2 million--are generated over the first six years after the program begins. The total cost of teaching the inmates is $150,000.
The benefits to a department of corrections and to society result from the benefits for correctional staff and inmates described earlier. For inmates: fewer disciplinary reports, less violence, more cooperation with staff, less substance abuse, better health, a more positive attitude toward work and studies, less recidivism. For staff and correctional officers: less absenteeism, decreased alcohol and substance abuse, fewer staff disciplinary reports, decreased medical care utilization, fewer worker's compensation incidents, more cooperation with peers and supervisors, and greater job satisfaction. These benefits create significant financial savings.
Lower staffing needs
In a calmer prison environment, fewer correctional officers are needed. The average number of uniformed officers per hundred inmates in U.S. state prisons is twenty-five (varying from thirteen to fifty).1 In the calmer environment created by the institutional practice of Transcendental Meditation, twenty-one (or fewer) officers per hundred will likely be sufficient as officers gain confidence in the program. In most states, this sixteen percent reduction in force could be accomplished within a year, voluntarily, through retirement and resignation.
Lower health care costs
Research has shown that those who practice Transcendental Meditation have less than half the medical usage of the average population (see p. 4). Prison doctors throughout Senegal reported that medical consultations in the prisons decreased by fifty to eighty percent after implementation of the program in their institutions. Not only are inmates healthier; staff health care expenditures also decrease. These savings mean correspondingly more funds for other important prison projects.
Reduced recidivism, shorter prison stays, fewer prisons
Eighty percent of state prison inmates have a prior conviction.2 Approximately forty-one percent of those released from state prisons return within three years.3 In San Quentin and Folsom maximum security prisons in California, a study of 259 inmates practicing Transcendental Meditation found a forty percent decrease in new prison terms over the five years after release as compared to matched controls (see p. 7). Also, increased participation in educational programs and fewer rule infractions are likely to decrease average length of stay by one month or more. In time, prisons can even be closed. "Today, at a time when in most countries prisons are overcrowded and when there does not seem to be any solution to this problem except in building new prisons, I am delighted to say that three of our prisons have been closed for six months for lack of inmates and eight others are almost idling--operating at six to thirty percent of their usual capacity," reported Colonel Mamadou Diop after two years of the nationwide program in Senegal.
1) G.M. Camp and C.G. Camp, The Corrections Yearbook (1991), and U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics--1992 (1993) 93.
2) U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Profile of State Prison Inmates, 1986 (1988).
3) U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1983 (1989).
Introduction to Maharishi's Integrated System of Rehabilitation
Benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program for Correctional Officers (Part 1)
Benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program for Correctional Officers (Part 2)
Benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program for Inmates (Part 1)
Benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program for Inmates (Part 2)
Experiences and Reports of Correctional Officers and Inmates (Part 1)
Experiences and Reports of Correctional Officers and Inmates (Part 2)
Benefits to the Department of Corrections
Savings for Taxpayers and Victims of Crime
Summary of Benefits of Transcendental Meditation program in Corrections
Maharishi University of Management
Department of Rehabilitation,
1700 University Court, Fairfield, IA 52556 U.S.A.