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Cost Savings from Teaching the
Transcendental Meditation Program in Prisons

The Enlightened Sentencing Project, St. Louis, Missouri

This paper quantifies cost savings to correctional systems and to society resulting from implementation of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program. Based on results from studies at several maximum-security prisons, including Folsom and San Quentin in California and Walpole in Massachusetts, up to 56% fewer inmates are convicted of new crimes when they are released after beginning the TM program. Furthermore, practitioners of this program are returned to prison up to 45% less often for parole violations or any other reason. These and other effects described in this paper allow the TM program to lower costs. Savings are projected to arise from: (a) reduced recidivism, (b) reduced medical expenses, (c) a more manageable prison environment, (d) improved quality of life for staff, and (e) a reduced crime rate for society. Conservatively, the overall ratio of program cost to total savings is estimated at 1 to 10, with 46% of savings accruing to the correctional system and 54% to the general public. Total savings over 5 years for every 1,000 inmates and 100 correctional officers instructed is estimated at $31.6 million. These projections imply that instructing a substantial fraction of the 6 million people under correctional supervision in the United States would lead to savings in the tens of billions of dollars.

KEYWORDS Cost savings, criminal behavior, Transcendental Meditation, TM,
crime prevention, recidivism