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The Transcendental Meditation Program
in the Senegalese Penitentiary System

The Enlightened Sentencing Project, St. Louis, Missouri

Stipendiary Magistrate, Geraldton, Western Australia

Criminal justice systems in the developing nations of Africa are challenged by a lack of resources for the provision of rehabilitation programs. As a result, they generally experience poor correctional outcomes. Between 1987 and 1989, more than 11,000 inmates and 900 correctional officers and prison administrators in 31 of the 34 prisons in the West African nation of Senegal were instructed in the Transcendental Meditation program. Rule infractions decreased, medical expenses went down 70%, and recidivism dropped from 90% in the pre-meditation period to less than 3% after the program was established. The Senegal project illustrates the significant and positive impact that the use of the Transcendental Meditation program can have on correctional outcomes. It also suggests that the program is a viable rehabilitation approach for use in the criminal justice systems of resource-challenged nations.

KEYWORDS Transcendental Meditation, Africa, Senegal, criminal justice, offender rehabilitation, prisons