Friday, December 13, 2013

Yoga in Texas prisons limited by religion

Brandi Grissom at the Tribune has an interesting piece up on volunteer-led yoga offerings at TDCJ, but this bit stuck out at me: "the criminal justice department classifies yoga as a religious offering ... so at some prison units, only inmates who identify themselves as practitioners of Eastern religions like Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism are allowed to attend."

That's pretty silly. In 21st century America, yoga has become utterly secularized and only a small percentage of those practicing it are adherents of Eastern religions. From the research I've seen, yoga and meditation have positive effects on in-prison behavior and recidivism, so limiting participation by one's declared religion to me seems like a counterproductive choice by TDCJ.

13 comments:

Brian said...

If TDCJ eliminated counterproductive choices, they wouldn't have many choices left.

Anonymous said...

Please write an article on the Ethan Couch verdict! I'd love to hear your opinion.

Anonymous said...

In line with TDCJ's main objective. Punish, not rehabilitate.

Lynne Benson said...

OK, an "actual" journalist exposes an ignorant policy that cannot be defended. Uncounted online activists. Why is change (when it does occur) so slow I wonder. I mean, what's a girl to do?

Jibran Qazi said...

I wish those prisoners got a chance to do Yoga before they got there, I bet they probably would have never ended up in that place to begin with. Regardless, it's nice to see that. Compassion is something we should exercise more.

never.forget said...

How completely STUPID can the TDCJ get?

sunray's wench said...

It's not necessarily TDCJ as an organisation, it is the personal imposition of a single belief system by a small minority on the prison populatioin as a whole. Those who see it as their mission not to rehabilitate, but to indoctrinate and exclude anything that does not fit with thier own religious standpoint - across much of Texas political office - that causes this ridiculously backwards approach.

Anonymous said...

I would think they could do yoga as in cell recreation by themselves. If you are talking about organized yoga, TDCJ would need staff to oversee the class and that is hard to expect with staffing levels the way they are.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"they could do yoga as in cell recreation by themselves"

Sure, if they come into prison with that knowledge. If, while in prison, they're hoping to learn self-discipline and impulse control through yoga, somebody has to teach them.

Anonymous said...

Re-institute the ball & chain gang busting rocks from daylight till dark. No need or interest in anything but warm food, shower, and your cot.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

You may not value rehabilitation, 4:08, but recent polling shows more Texans think it should be the primary purpose of sentencing than buy into the pure punishment model to which you ascribe.

Anonymous said...

GFB @ 8:25 and its obvious that the people being polled are definitely not the same people who continue to overwhelmingly vote prosecutors, judges etc to office riding the punishment bandwagon.

Thomas Denney said...

This is in keeping with the stranglehold fundamentalist Christians have on the Dept of Chaplaincy.