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Through intimate letters, interviews, and stories, this narrative reveals the impact that a life-changing retreat had on a group of inmates at the highest level maximum-security state prison in Alabama. The 38 participants in the first-ever intensive, silent 10-day program inside the walls of a corrections facility—many serving life sentences without parole—detail the range of their experiences, the depth of their understanding of the Buddha’s teachings gained by direct experience, and their setbacks and successes. During the Vipassana meditation program, they face the past and their miseries and emerge with a sense of peace and purpose. This compelling story shows the capacity for commitment, self-examination, renewal, and hope within a dismal penal system and a wider culture that demonizes prisoners.

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