Filed in Social Justice

Freedom Behind Bars

Fleet Maull’s Prison Dharma Network is bringing Buddhist teachings to inmates. Travis Duncan

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They filed through the gymnasium doors in regulation blue and gray sweatshirts, rubbing their eyes, some curious but all of them tired. A cellmate had kept most of them up all night by yelling and banging on the walls. At the doors, the young men slapped on name tags and grabbed their complementary granola bars. “It’s a great day to be in prison,” one of them said as he filed past the makeshift check-in desks to find his seat. Although Prison Dharma Network (PDN) holds a shorter, smaller weekly class on Thursday evenings at the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center in Golden, Colorado, today’s program would be a bit different. The fifty males—all fifteen to twenty years old—who were about to go through the half-day PDN program on this Monday in late March, had been hand-selected by Lookout staff as those most likely to benefit from today’s workshop.

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