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History and Goals:

Conception:  In 2004 the mental health staff of Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women contacted Pat Coffey and Susan Stone of the Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville (see www.imeditation.org for IMCC offerings and activities) and asked them to teach meditation at their maximum security prison facility.  Classes began in November 2004. To date over 100 inmates have participated in the training.  In 2006  Blue Ridge Prison Project was incorporated as a non-stock Virginia corporation and has been recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a section 501(c)(3) charitable organization.  Contributions to  Blue Ridge Prison Project, Inc. are deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

Format:  We run two classes simultaneously in different rooms every Wednesday evening from 6:30-8:30.  One group serves women who have participated in our classes before and wish to continue with their Mindfulness practice.  The other group serves new students. 


Short and Long Term Goals: The Blue Ridge Prison Project aims:

To expand our teaching so we can reach all who want to learn Mindfulness in a timely fashion.  Recognizing that Mindfulness skills are a critical component in enhancing decision-making and reducing stress, the Mental Health Department is anxious for us to reach all the inmates on the waiting list ASAP given that some are transferred or paroled. The women in these groups need significant individual attention and there are currently only four teachers and limited teaching space.

To hold periodic daylong retreats wherein meditators are sequestered together for a day of silent meditation/interviews and instruction.  

To train some inmates as Mindfullness Facilitators.  Having trained Mindfulness Facilitators in the prison population will provide additional support to those beginning their practice

To bring in outside recognized Insight meditation teachers to help inspire the inmates and lead day long seminars.   Internationally known teachers such as Sharon Salzberg and Tara Brach have committed to teaching at the facility.  

To offer Mindfulness-based stress reduction programs to the correctional officers and administrators of the prison

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