The teaching of Vipassana meditation in a correctional environment was first tried in Jaipur, India in 1975. Despite three sucessful courses, one for police officers and two for prisoners, no further prison courses were taught for almost 15 years.
In March 1993, a woman named Kiran Bedi became Inspector General of the Tihar Jail in New Delhi, the largest prison in India holding nearly 10,000 inmates. In her search for a technique of rehabilitation which would not only prepare her inmates for a sucessful return to society but also render the prison environment more peaceful and harmonious, she learned about Vipassana and its prior use in prisons. The first 10 day Vipassana course was taught within the Tihar Jail in 1994. Many other courses followed for both men and women, including a course for over 1,000 inmates, one of the largest courses ever held in modern times. This course and the events which led up to it and followed it are documented in the award-winning film “Doing Time, Doing Vipassana”. This film is currently being broadcast on a number of national television networks around the world.
Today there is a permanent meditation center within the walls of Tihar Jail, as well as several other Indian prisons, at which regular Vipassana courses are conducted. In addition, 17 courses for thousands of police cadets have been held at the Police Training College in New Delhi. Following the establishment of this technique in the prisons of India, Vipassana courses have been sucessfully conducted in the prison facilities of Taiwan as well as the United States. They are also being currently considered by many other countries as a program to try and stem the rising tide of recividism throughout the world.