“The mental benefits of yoga are unbelievable. The yoga path has made me a better person. I am a lot less reactionary- keeping my cool keeps me out of The Hole. The physical benefits have been increased flexibility and strength (it compliments my other workout routines), better digestive health (which is of the utmost importance because both the food and the water here are bad), and I sleep better.”

Justice studies

Around the world, studies show that incarcerated women and men of all ages benefit from mindfulness, meditation and yoga practices. In prisons and rehabilitation and correctional facilities, 10-week programs reported significant increases in self-awareness, mental and emotional well-being, and self-regulation, coupled with reductions in stress, restlessness and impulsivity.

As justice yoga and mindfulness programs continue to expand in carceral settings, research has concluded that the practices offer tremendous value for incarcerated persons to build a sense of community filled with positivity and purpose.

89 %

Of participants intend to use
techniques to reduce stress &
anxiety

80 %

Of participants at a county prison
felt more relaxed afterwards

72

Individuals have graduated from
our vocational peer-to-peer
trainings

Participant Studies

A review of literature of yoga/mindfulness in Indian women’s prisons reported a positive impact on participants, as measured by improved mood, reduced stress, lower psychological distress, improved concentration and decision making and improved ability to override impulse. (source)

  • Young males who participated in yoga and mindfulness as an alternative to incarceration program noted that they developed an embodied practice for assisting them in managing anger control and impulse control. (source)

Increases Peace

One study investigated the emotional health of long-term incarcerated individuals. The study group showed significant improvement in mindfulness level, anxiety, depression, tension-anxiety, depression-dejection, anger-hostility, confusion-bewilderment, and total mood disturbance. (source)

  • A sociological study conducted in Spain concluded yoga practices served as invaluable resources through which incarcerated individuals could make sense of their uncertain situation and strengthen their self-image, thereby creating more peace at the institution. (source)

We are committed to evaluating our Justice programs to better understand the benefits of our offerings to participants.

Learn More about our Program Evaluation at Philadelphia Department of Prisons