(49 Total References)
LIonheart's work at Donaldson Correctional Facility, Bessemer, AL |
The psychologist, Dr. Ron Cavanaugh, told Troy that the only way the inmates could get a room in the prison designated for a group was to conduct a formal course of study that was pre-approved by the AL DOC.
Over the next four years, with support and encouragement from the Lionheart Foundation as well as Donaldson psychologist, Dr. Cavanaugh, Troy's study group grew into a large pool of several hundred inmates who participated in the Houses of Healing program and were meditating on a regular basis.
Since its introduction, The Lionheart Foundation
has donated more than 1500 copies of Houses of Healing to state prisons in AL. (Hundreds more have been donated to county and federal prisons within the state.) Because of the close working relationship that Lionheart
developed with Dr. Cavanaugh
and because the Houses of Healing Program was so integrated into Donaldson, Lionheart has donated 525+ copies of Houses of Healing to this one facility.
Prior to the Vipassana retreat, Lionheart
had donated 400+ copies to Donaldson.
agreed to conduct a similar battery of tests with inmates at Donaldson.
In June 2000, Jenny and Robin went to Donaldson to meet with Dr. Cavanaugh
and observe the inmate facilitation of Houses of Healing courses.
The training was underwritten by The Lionheart Foundation and sponsored by the AL DOC under the direction of Dr. Cavanaugh who had, by then, been promoted to the position of Director of Treatment for the entire state prison system.
Sixty+ (60) corrections professionals representing seven (7) AL state prisons and six (6) AL work release facilities attended the training that was held in Montgomery.
By the time the Vipassana retreat was introduced to Dr. Cavanaugh
and the Commissioner of the AL DOC
, hundreds of men within Donaldson had participated in the Houses of Healing program.
The Dhamma Brothers: The Film Director's Statement
- Dr. Ron Cavanaugh, the Director of Treatment for the Alabama DOC
When the prison psychologist, Dr. Ron Cavanaugh, invited me to visit and to interview some of the meditating prisoners, I packed my tape recorder and flew down.
That visit and the stories that I heard while there set my course over the next ten years.
Soon after that first trip to Alabama, I became aware of a meditation practice, Vipassana
, which is taught in centers around the world and contains the elements that I had always thought were most needed in an effective prison program: the opportunity and techniques for significant introspection in a safe and supported environment.
With collaboration among Ron Cavanaugh
, the Alabama Department of Corrections
, The Lionheart Foundation
, and the Vipassana center in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, a Vipassana program was first brought into this Alabama prison in 2002.
National Coalition of STD Directors
According to Ronald Cavanaugh, director of treatment for the Alabama Department of Corrections, it will be the first time state prisons will offer HCV treatment and have a protocol for prevention and education.
has seen national estimates as high as 40 percent for the rate of HCV-infected prisoners.
estimated a couple hundred prisoners initially may be identified.
About 380 state inmates have completed ...
About 380 state inmates have completed a Vipassana course, said Dr. Ronald Cavanaugh, who brought the program to Donaldson while working there and is now treatment director for the Alabama Department of Corrections.
It took him three years to convince administrators to allow the program and to find the space for it.
A Department of Corrections study of about 100 inmates who completed the program and were still in custody in late 2007 found they had 20 percent fewer disciplinary actions after the course, Cavanaugh
"The goal of Vipassana
is to change one's relationship to thoughts instead of changing the content of the thoughts," said Cavanaugh
Baptists far outnumber Buddhists in Alabama, and state corrections officials deserve credit for their willingness to try the program, said Jenny Phillips, a Massachusetts psychotherapist who introduced Cavanaugh to Vipassana meditation.
Dr. Ron Cavanaugh, treatment ...
Dr. Ron Cavanaugh, treatment director for the Alabama Department of Corrections, says many inmates put their defenses up, denying responsibility for their crimes and blaming others.
But the meditation practice, he says, chips away at those defense mechanisms.
"They have nobody to talk to," Cavanaugh
"So there's nobody that they can deny stuff with or project everything with."
says inmates who go through the course have a 20 percent reduction in disciplinary action.