3 Mindfulness in prisons
In ‘Mindfulness’, from Mad or Bad: A Critical Approach to Counselling and Forensic Psychology, you learned that mindfulness could be useful in prisons for a number of reasons:
- levels of mental health difficulties – including depression, anxiety and suicide – are higher in prisons than in the general population. Mindfulness – particularly in group formats – is a useful, and cost-effective, way of tackling such mental health difficulties (Shonin et al., 2015)
- prisoners tend to have higher levels of difficult emotions, such as anger, and more trouble regulating such feelings. Mindfulness can be particularly helpful with emotional regulation (Chambers et al., 2009)
- prisoners also tend to have higher levels of substance abuse, which mindfulness can help to treat (Bowen et al., 2010)
- linked to the above, there is evidence that prisoners who have taken part in sustained mindfulness programmes have significantly lower rates of re-offending (Auty et al., 2015).