Meditation training for people in prison

Imagine providing life changing access to meditation training to the most disenfranchised people in America - those locked up in the criminal justice system with little to no access to meditation and mindfulness resources. Level has partnered with the accomplished meditation teacher and author Dean Sluyter to create meditation and mindfulness content specifically oriented for people in prison. Be a part of a revolutionary education project at the intersection of social equity, mindfulness and meditation.

person in prison cell learning about meditation

People in prison are desperate to learn about meditation and mindfulness.

We receive countless requests from folks on the inside passionate to learn about meditation. Life in prison is chaotic and often violent. Peace is in short supply. People in prison have often heard about meditation as a way to reconnect with the self, with others, reduce anxiety and improve relationships.

However, this inherent motivation and passion for meditation training is not supported by our industrial prison system.

The 2 million Americans currently behind bars receive no meditation training. With 600,000 people released every year from state and federal prisons, this is a giant missed opportunity for improving outcomes for returning citizens, their families and communities.

Level is changing this story by creating meditation content specifically oriented to people in prison, offered for free to incarcerated people nationwide.

Level has partnered with Dean Sluyter to create Natural Meditation For Everyone, a guide that introduces the basics of meditation in a format that anyone can practice, anywhere. Dean has taught and written about mindfulness and meditation for decades and has deep experience teaching meditation, mindfulness and Buddhism in prisons. Natural Meditation For Everyone is specifically created for people who have no prior experience with meditation and who have experienced considerable trauma in their lives. This guide dispels the myth that meditation is for experts who have practiced for years and introduces meditation as a simple, powerful life skill that anyone can use to reduce stress, increase connection and improve relationships.

We invite you to help Level reshape the story and change the criminal justice system with dignity and optimism.

There is no better investment in an individual or their community than education. Your support invests in the inherent ability of incarcerated Americans to reshape not just their own narrative, but the story we all tell ourselves about what is possible.

Project budget
$19,375
Raised
$10,638

The total budget for this project is $19,075 including production of the guide plus plus distribution to 1,500 people in prison in the first year. The guide will live on in our permanent catalog and will be sent to thousands of incarcerated people over its lifetime.

We have raised $10,638 for this project to date. With this funding, we have completed the text for the guide (by Dean Sluyter on a pro-bono basis), we have completed all illustrations (by Donavon Brutus), we have completed layout design (by African American Graphic Designers) and we have begun printing and shipping this guide to people in prison across the country! We are continuing to raise funding to support the distribution of this guide to thousands of people in prison across the country.

We thank all the individual donors for this project including Dean Sluyter, Kircher Family Foundation, Tejas Potynski, William Brennan, Perry Freeman, Coralie Pearson, Lisa Schnur, Vince Flammini, Scott Passin, Cecilia Hale, Patricia McClory, James Caplan, Dorothy Mountain, Anna Ginzburg, Eric Przybylinski, David Malinowski, Kristin Center, Alan Wright, Victor Nostas, Lindy Wright, Mixaela Corona, Erin Wright, Justin Wright, Nora Wright, Murray Wright, Alice Smith, J.J. Tigges, Katie Fryer, Cynthia Wright, Charles Noble, Brooke Covington, Rob Tourtelot, Joyce Dvoren, Marilee Burton and Alexander Oh .

Contribute to this project.

Make a meaningful impact for thousands of people in prison who want to learn about meditation.

Donate by credit card.

Donate by check.

We welcome donations by check, especially for larger contributions. Make checks payable to Level, note meditation in the memo, and mail to:

Level

411 W Monroe St
Austin, TX 78704

Level is a 501c3 nonprofit, EIN 84-2956557. Donations are tax-deductible. Thank you!

Level serves incarcerated people at 548 state prisons, 77 federal prisons and 132 county jails across the country.

Level applies the power of education to break the destructive cycle of the American criminal justice system. We offer educational, job training and personal development services for people in prison to convert otherwise wasted years of incarceration into an opportunity to prepare for a brighter, stronger future. Level is the only national provider of free job training and educational content for people in prison, providing a critical lifeline to incarcerated people across the country.

Level serves incarcerated people at 680 different federal, state, county and military prisons in 48 states. The expected outcomes of Level's program are increased employment and income after release and a reduction in recidivism.

Imagine a criminal justice system in which people being released from prison have better chances of success than when they first went in. Imagine a different system that encourages the inherent motivations for self improvement among incarcerated people instead of breaking them down and isolating them without resources. Imagine a system that activates incarcerated people's dreams for a different tomorrow, a system that promotes tools to strengthen people, their families and their communities after release. At Level, we work towards this vision every day!

Level creates educational packets - we call them guides - and distributes them at no cost directly to people in prison across the country. Our guides require no internet access and cover topics including entrepreneurship, computer science, vocational job training and personal development. We distribute content to facilities without any educational programming and to people in solitary confinement and maximum security who are not able to attend programming that may exist at their facility. Incarcerated learners send us written responses to each guide, allowing us to collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data to measure impact and outcomes.

Level is a data driven organization. We collect and analyze both quantitative and qualitative information across our individual programs to measure target outcomes and impacts.

The objective criteria that we will measure to indicate if this program is a success are the total number of incarcerated learners who receive this guide in the first year, number of Completion Forms sent back to Level by incarcerated learners, number of correct answers to quiz questions, average rating for educational effectiveness and Net Promoter Score rating. We measure these criteria for each of our guides - our data tracking and measurement system is already in place, functioning and tested.

Over the long term, we are interested in tracking our programs' impact on three outcomes: post release employment, income and recidivism among the formerly incarcerated learners that Level has served. These outcomes are fully measurable, though the time horizon to measure them is long considering prison sentences that often cover 5 to 15 years. In order to measure these long term outcomes, our digital platform will be able to continue connecting with formerly incarcerated people after they leave prison, a unique feature among prison education programs.