There are only a few days left in the Rangjung Prison Dharma Project’s Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to bring meditation practice to both inmates and corrections officers at the Rikers Island Correctional Facility, New York City’s main jail complex and one of the largest in the nation.
In 2013, Mother Jones magazine named Rikers Island one of “America’s 10 Worst Prisons.” The complex of 10 separate jails is home to between 10,000 and 15,0000 prisoners and, according to one of multiple lawsuits, had a “deeply entrenched” pattern of violence by guards.
The Rangjung Prison Dharma Project began in 2014 bringing meditation instruction to female inmates and quickly expanded to offer weekly meditation for the correction officers to help them cope with the challenging nature of their work. The Project also works with incarcerated adolescents and men in maximum security.
The fundraising campaign has a goal of raising $30,000 to help expand their programs to a new facility for young adults and a new transgender program; to support released inmates and enable them to continue their meditation practice; and to recruit and train new volunteers.
The Rangjung Prison Dharma Project operates as part of the New York Tsurphu Goshir Dharma Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit Tibetan Buddhist temple in Brooklyn, New York.
Each year Lion’s Roar sends a collection of copies of Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma, as well as some Buddhist books to the Los Angeles County penal system, to be shared among those who wish to explore and practice the dharma. For more on dharma in prisons, visit our Prison Dharma Section.