Volunteering with Incarcerated People
Are you interested in helping incarcerated people learn about meditation? For over 30 years the Austin Shambhala Meditation Center has worked with incarcerated men and women in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system. About 10 years ago the Austin Dharmata Sangha joined the program, and both organizations now collaborate closely.
Our work includes both on-site visits and correspondence. The prison environment is very challenging for all, inmates and staff alike. Inmates have reported that the only quiet time they have is during the volunteer program. Over the years we have received many letters from inmates expressing deep appreciation for the opportunity to learn to meditate. In fact, the visits have been going on for so many years that we’re seeing former inmates being released and entering the free world.
What We Do
Our goal is to ease the prison experience for inmates by giving them the tools to develop a meditation practice. We offer basic instruction to a general audience, usually accompanied by some body practice such as yoga. For the inmates who are Buddhists we provide more specific religious content. While we focus almost exclusively on shamatha meditation, we try to make our instruction comfortable and welcoming for people of all faiths and experience.
Where We Go
Currently we visit four women's prisons in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system:
Crain Unit, Gatesville – second Thursday of the month, 4:00-5:15 pm
Lockhart Unit, Lockhart – third Saturday of the month, 1:00-2:30 pm
Mountain View Unit, Gatesville – first Friday of the month, 2:30-4:30 pm
Lane Murray Unit, Gatesville – third Friday of the month, 2:00-4:00 pm
For More Information
Please contact Volunteer Coordinator Jessica.