Description of Organization
The Prison Dharma Network (Prison Mindfulness Institute) was founded in 1989 by Acharya Fleet Maull, a Buddhist then serving a 14.5 year mandatory minimum sentence in federal prison for drug trafficking. Through Buddhist meditation practices and spiritual teachings of various Buddhist teachings, Acharya Maull rehabilitated himself and dedicated his organization to provide meditation-based and/or contemplative prison ministry programs and outreach projects through a network which has over 180 organizational members and over 2200 individual members. The purpose is to assure that every prisoner who is inclined toward employing meditation, contemplative spirituality and other transformative practices has access to the teachings and resources they need to realize their aspirations. The Prison Mindfulness Institute works directly with prison chaplains and other corrections staff to assist them in understanding and providing for healing, educational and spiritual needs of the prisoners and staff of their institutions in the context of a restorative and transformative approach to corrections. Prison Mindfulness Institute supports prisoners in the practice of contemplative disciplines, with an emphasis on sitting meditation practice and the practice and study of Buddhist teachings and other wisdom traditions. It promotes these paths of wakefulness and nonaggression as ideal vehicles for self-rehabilitation and personal transformation. Prison Mindfulness Institute also provides mindfulness-based staff development training for corrections professionals.
In 2018, an additional grant in the amount of $20,000 was awarded to continue the Mindful Justice Program.
In 2017, a grant in the amount of $20,000 was awarded to continue their Mindful Justice: Transforming our Criminal Justice System through Mindfulness program. This program helped to establish a national platform to bring mindfulness training and values into the criminal justice system. Through various national meetings, research, writing, and workshops, Mindful Justice has helped spread mindfulness-based interventions throughout the criminal justice system and raised the awareness of mindfulness among criminal justice professionals and policymakers.
In 2014, a grant in the amount of $1,000 was awarded to fund a pilot meeting as part of the Prison Mindfulness Institute, Berkeley Initiative for Mindfulness in Law and Justice Systems Assessment & Training collaboration.
In 2012, a Pay it Forward Grant in the amount of $75,000 was awarded to create and execute a two-year major donor campaign to promote the field of Buddhism and meditation or mindfulness-based work in prisons, jails, juvenile facilities, post-release, and at-risk youth programs as well as to increase development capacity.
In 2007, a grant in the amount of $225,000 was awarded to support core operations, build capacity, and expand prison programs and services to prisoners, prison staff, and prison volunteers.