Yoga, meditation used to help inmates

Lama Chuck Stanford started visiting a small group of Buddhist inmates in Kansas about six years ago.”Then word got around that that I was doing this,” Stanford says, “and I started getting calls from prison chaplains around here telling me they had Buddhist inmates interested in getting groups going.”

Now, Stanford, of the Rime Buddhist Center in Kansas City, Mo., serves four prisons – the Lansing Correctional Center, the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in Leavenworth, and two state prisons in Missouri. He’s on the road two days a week, most days serving groups of about 10 men at each prison.

Stanford is among a quietly growing number of Buddhist teachers working in U.S. prisons, tending to inmates who had been raised Buddhist or who discovered the ancient faith later, many while incarcerated. U.S. prisons are also offering meditation and yoga for their general populations.

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