Meditation research: the state of the art in correctional settings

Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol. 2011 Jun;55(4):646-61. doi: 10.1177/0306624X10364485. Epub 2010 Mar 23.


There is research that serves as evidence in favor of meditation-based programs as rehabilitative for incarcerated populations. This article reviews empirical research regarding the effects of meditation-based programs in correctional populations. Three meditation-based interventions have been shown to represent the majority of empirical research and are reviewed in this article: Transcendental Meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and 10-day Vipassana retreats. Selected dissertation research is reviewed as well. Overall, research suggests three areas in which meditation-based programs provide sufficient treatment to criminal offenders: the enhancement of psychological well-being, a decrease in substance use, and a decrease in recidivism. This suggests that meditation-based programs may be proper treatment programs and support rehabilitation for correctional populations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anomie
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / rehabilitation*
  • Awareness
  • Comorbidity
  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Meditation / methods*
  • Meditation / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Prisons*
  • Psychometrics
  • Recurrence
  • Research
  • Socialization