Experiences that change your perspective, mindfulness in prisons
Can meditation and Mindfulness help people in prisons?
My name is Monica Hurtado. I was born in Manizales, in the west-central part of Colombia.
I started practicing mindfulness and meditation in 2017. And I discovered that it reduced my anxiety and stress, improved my concentration and memory, and developed my emotional intelligence. That is why, in 2019, I worked as a volunteer on a project where I visited the men's prison in my city. There, I taught meditation and breathing practices to the interns. We also did workshops to manage emotions, improve communication, and practice yoga. I heard powerful stories and learned to see life through their eyes and experiences. At first, I was nervous, but then I felt a lot of happiness when interns told me this enhanced their health and relationships with themselves and their families.
In addition, with this project, I visited the largest prison in my country, La Picota, in Bogotá. I learned about programs that provide new opportunities for inmates. For example, studying a career, working in restaurants, or doing productive projects thanks to organizations such as "Acción Interna."
Prisons continue to face many challenges in my country: inhumane conditions, overcrowding, and lack of sanitation, among others. However, initiatives such as these practices provide other opportunities for people who often did not have any of them before coming to prison. More individuals and organizations should be involved in this task.
Translation: Mónica Hurtado
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