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The Dhamma Brothers

A maximum-security prison in Alabama is dramatically changed by the influence of an ancient meditation program. THE DHAMMA BROTHERS tells a tale of human potential as it documents the stories of the prison inmates at Donaldson Correction Facility who enter onto an arduous and intensive path towards emotional freedom.

Director: Andrew Kukura, Jenny Phillips, Anne Marie Stein
Year: 2008
Time: 76 min

 The Dhamma Brothers
(2008) on IMDb

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Ways to Influence

Share this film. Give others the chance to learn from its story.

Read Letters from the Dhamma Brothers: Meditation Behind Bars, a collection of letters from the prisoners of Donaldson Correctional Facility to director Jenny Phillips, which served as the inspiration behind the film.

Learn more about the David Lynch Foundation that teaches Transcendental Meditation to individuals across the world and offers the “Freedom Behind Bars” program in prisons. 

Support the Prison Mindfulness Institute that offers prison staff and inmates tools for rehabilitation and self-awareness, and supports scientific research into the field of meditation. 

Support the research of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds that conducts research into understanding the mind, emotions, and the path to personal well-being. 

Related Articles and Resources

At End-Of-The Line Prison, An Unlikely Escape

“Deep in the Bible Belt, an ancient Eastern practice is taking root in the unlikeliest of places: Alabama’s highest-security prison. Behind a double electric fence and layers of locked doorways, Alabama’s most violent and mentally unstable prisoners are incarcerated in the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility outside Birmingham. Many of them are here to stay.”

Listen to the podcast or read the article here.

Vipassana Meditation

“Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art Of Living.”

Find out more here.

The Pluralism Podcast

Listen to Episode 5 about Religious Diversity and American Prisons here.

A Psychiatrist’s View from Inside Prison

“Few people would choose to spend their time inside the walls of a prison, but it’s all in a day’s work for David Krassner. As a staff psychiatrist at the California Men’s Colony State Prison in San Luis Obispo, Krassner tends to the mental health needs of those locked away by society: men convicted of murder, rape, assault, kidnapping, arson or other crimes.”

Continue reading here.

11 Facts About America’s Prison Population

“Here’s a bit of context for Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to encourage federal prosecutors to charge low-level drug offenders with less severe crimes (thanks to Dylan Matthews and Brad Plumer for doing a lot of the spade work here):
– The U.S. prison population is more than 2.4 million.
– That’s more than quadrupled since 1980.”

Continue reading on the Washington Post.

Why the death penalty is dying out in America

Read the article on the Telegraph.

Brain Scans Reveal Why Meditation Works

“If you name your emotions, you can tame them, according to new research that suggests why meditation works. Brain scans show that putting negative emotions into words calms the brain’s emotion center. That could explain meditation’s purported emotional benefits, because people who meditate often label their negative emotions in an effort to ‘let them go.'”

Find out more here.

Top 10 Modern Prison Programs

It was not so long ago that prisoners were fed bread and water and chained up together during the day to perform hard labor. Nowadays a variety of programs have been implemented as jail time moves away from punishment to rehabilitation. This is a selection of ten of those new programs.


Pop Matters

"A powerful and frank film, relevant and compelling"
Society of Correctional Physicians

The New York Times

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