Sunday, 29 May 2011

Yoga in prisons -Hudak puts his foot in it

Tim Hudak, leader of the provincial opposition party, Conservative, 'get tough on crime', headline grabber. Crime is down. Inmate violence and issue in prisons are up, so says someone I know who has been there, with anger, violence a result of crowded conditions.
Many, many people volunteer with those incarcerated. They ensure that they safely attend church, participate in AA meetings, learn life skills, learn who to read and write.

Volunteer reception: Community Home Support

In fact, cooking classes, and creative writing classes are offered by volunteers hoping to change a life, and save others. I taught creative writing to minimum security inmates, a great way to improve writing skills for men who may not have had a great foundation in education. It is no cake walk.

We know the benefits of yoga. Those who VOLUNTEER to deliver these services are pretty upset. Fearmongering in the name of gaining voters is appalling. 

For more info see:

CTV news clip - Tim Hudak's comments in parliament April 13
The Toronto Star - Other prison perks in Ontario : Yoga, cooking classes
CBC News (from The Canadian Press) - Premium TV in prisons decried by Ont. Tories

A correction in response to Tim Hudak’s comments in Parliament on April 13th 
From Freeing the Human Spirit
April 15, 2011, Toronto :

On behalf of the Board of Directors of Freeing the Human Spirit (FTHS), the many volunteer instructors who deliver our programs, and our generous donors who support our work, we would like to clarify that FTHS is a voluntary program delivered in 23 Canadian correctional institutions at no cost to the federal or provincial governments. In addition, FTHS receives no funding nor is it granted any financial support from any level of government. Our yoga and meditation instruction to inmates is made possible entirely by the contributions of individual donors and private foundations and by the dedicated effort of more than 100 volunteers who teach over 600 classes each year.

Like scared rabbits
Freeing the Human Spirit is a not-for-profit Canadian registered charity. Our founder is Sister Elaine MacInnes, an 87 year old Catholic nun and Zen Roshi who has devoted much of her life to helping the incarcerated. Sister Elaine initiated the Canadian prison program in 2004, modelling it after The Prison Phoenix Trust in England where she served as Executive Director. She was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada for her work.

Sister Elaine MacInnes, Founder and Board President
Lynda Myler, Board Chair

Cheryl Vanderburg, Program Coordinator


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