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Transcendental Meditation Program and Criminal Recidivism in California

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 15 Issue: 3 Dated: (1987) Pages: 211-230
C R Bleick; A I Abrams
Date Published
20 pages
A sample of 259 male felon parolees of the California Department of Corrections (CDC) who had voluntarily learned the transcendental meditation (TM) technique while incarcerated had more favorable parole outcomes than statewide CDC parolees.
Parole outcome records (kept while the parolee remains on parole up to 2 years) and rap sheets (which continue indefinitely for all California offenders) were the two sources of information used. By comparison to matched controls, the TM group had consistently more favorable outcomes from 1 to 5 years after parole. TM also significantly reduced recidivism at 1 year and at 5 to 6 years after parole, when prison education, vocational training, and psychotherapy did not consistently reduce recidivism. Up to 7 years after instruction, 59 percent of the mediators who were surveyed in prison and not yet released were still meditating. TM recidivists were significantly less regular in meditation than the unreleased meditators, suggesting that regular TM practice is important for reducing recidivism. Despite the limitations of the retrospective study design, these results all indicate a reduction in recidivism due to TM practice that is of practical significance. 6 tables, 3 graphs, and 39 references. (Author abstract modified)


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