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Prison Yoga Programme brings out the Peace Within

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Minister of Social Development and Sports the Hon. Michael Weeks JP MP and the Minister of National Security the Hon. Wayne Caines JP MP attended the completion ceremony yesterday for the ‘Peace Within: Prison Yoga Pilot Programme’ at the St. George’s Co-Educational Facility and the Prison Farm Facility (photo attached).

Running from January 22, 2018 to March 12, 2018 the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation worked with yoga instructor Shanell Vaughn to introduce an eight-week pilot programme consisting of two yoga classes per week of trauma-sensitive yoga into the St. George’s Co-Educational Facility and the Prison Farm.

With the help of Vocational Coordinator at Corrections Mrs. Dwanita Grant and Corrections staff, the 'Peace Within' programme has introduced yoga to five women and one female officer at the Co-Ed Facility as well as nine men and one male officer at the ‘Right Living House’.

Shanell Vaughn, the lead instructor of the pilot programme said she is excited for the future of the programme. She said, “The 'Peace Within: Prison Yoga Programme’ is committed to breaking the cycle of individual suffering and to offering people behind bars the opportunity to heal, grow and prepare for their return to our communities through the practice of yoga.

“As part of the pilot’s rehabilitative mission, each class is couched in the yogic principle of ‘ahimsa’ - meaning to do no harm to oneself or others, on or off the mat and many of the participants already report feeling more peaceful, more relaxed and healthier in their bodies. It is deeply rewarding for me to witness the eagerness of these men and women to learn, and to support them in discovering that they have the power within themselves to master their own mind, body and emotions through the peaceful practice of yoga.”

The Minister of Social Development and Sports the Hon. Michael Weeks JP MP said, “For many of the participants this is the first time they’ve ever tried yoga and I understand that all of the inmates involved expressed hope that the programme would be extended beyond the eight week window.

“I am very grateful to the dedicated staff at the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation for their ingenuity to facilitate this truly inspiring pilot programme.”

The Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne M. Caines, JP, MP congratulated the successful inmates. He also commended the Department of Corrections and the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation for their positive and successful partnership.

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