OUR IMPACT

Since 2008, YBB has equipped thousands of incarcerated men, women, and youth with the physical and mental tools to change their lives from the inside out.

ISSUE

WHY YOGA?

OUR IMPACT

WHERE WE TEACH

RESOURCES

 

THE ISSUE

The U.S. is the world’s largest jailer.

Did you know that more than 2.2 million people in the United States are behind bars?
Incarceration has increasingly become an inefficient panacea for many other social issues such as mental illness, racism, poverty, homelessness, and drug addiction. Yoga Behind Bars is committed to breaking this cycle of suffering, and to give people behind bars the opportunity to heal, grow, and prepare for their return to our communities.

Mass Incarceration
In The United States

WHY TRAUMA INFORMED YOGA?

In short, yoga and meditation work.

People who practice yoga in prison, are less likely to return upon release. The behaviors that lead people to prison are often the result of deeply held trauma. The yoga we teach aims to safely release this unresolved trauma by addressing the root cause rather than symptoms.

Most of our students return to society, about 97%. When they do, we want them to thrive and be leaders for change. Our programs give students the tools and self-esteem to do so.

In addition to the physical benefits and improved overall well-being, yoga and meditation have been scientifically proven to:

  • Drastically reduce rates of recidivism, people who practice yoga and meditation behind bars are less likely to return to prison once they have finished their sentence
  • Only 8% of individuals who took 4 or more yoga classes returned to prison, compared with a national average of 60% recidivism.
  •  Reduce depression, anger, and anxiety, often a root cause of destructive behavior and drug use.
  • Be an effective adjunctive therapy during treatment for drug addiction, which is a co-factor in many of our students’ incarceration.

“Trauma sensitive yoga can be incredibly powerful in the healing of a woman who has experienced significant hardship whether incarcerated or not.”

– Staff member at Washington Corrections Center for Women, 2016

OUR IMPACT

Yoga Behind Bars by the numbers

Our team of 100+ volunteer instructors currently reach an average of 250 students through 37 classes weekly, in 17 different facilities in 7 Washington State Counties each week. We teach at all custody levels, maximum, medium, and minimum, as well as solitary confinement.

Students Reached

Our students give this work meaning. Each year we teach thousands of incarcerated people yoga, and bring meditation and asanas to a variety of populations, including youth, the mental health unit at the women’s prison, the Veteran’s pod at Kent Jail, and men in solitary at the Monroe prison.

Volunteer Teachers Trained

Our 17-hour trauma-informed trainings provide up-to-date skills for working with vulnerable populations behind and beyond bars. Our teacher trainees join us to deepen their own practice and learn trauma-informed healing modalities to address the unique challenges faced by populations impacted by trauma.

Inmate Teachers Trained

In August of 2015, 10 men from 5 different prisons around the state were transferred to Stafford Creek Corrections Center to start their training. They graduated in February 2016 and are now teaching yoga classes at 5 facilities across the state. In October of 2016, 10 women at Washington Corrections Center for Women started their training, and 5 of them graduated in April 2017.

TEDxMonroe

Teach Behind Bars

WHERE WE TEACH

17 Facilities across 9 Washington State counties.

Today a team of over 100+ incredible yoga instructors teach an average of 37 classes a week in
seventeen locations. Starting with one yoga teacher in Seattle’s downtown jail in 2008, we now offer classes
in minimum, medium, and maximum custody, solitary confinement, mental health treatment units, as well
as classes for incarcerated veterans. Every day an average of 30 youth, women, and men practice yoga and
meditation through our programs. Below is a list of where we teach:

Clallam Bay Corrections Center

Monroe Correctional Complex

Washington State Reformatory

Stafford Creek Corrections Center

King County Correctional Facility

Maleng Regional Justice Center

Washington Corrections Center for Women

Federal Detention Center, SeaTac

King County Juvenile Detention Center

Echo Glen Children’s Center

Remann Hall

Denney Juvenile Justice Center

Airway Heights Corrections Center

Washington State Penitentiary

Coyote Ridge Corrections Center

Washington Corrections Center

Whatcom County Juvenile Court

Washington Corrections Center in Shelton

Whatcom County Juvenile Detention Center

LEARN WHAT YOU CAN DO

Give the Gift of Yoga and Meditation

You can help us bring positive change to the lives of those behind bars.

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