Transforming Justice

We are a national collaboration of teachers and organizations bringing transformative, mindfulness-based programs to criminal justice settings in order to create a more fair and humane criminal justice system.

Learn More about Our Work with:
You can also write to Dan Carlin ([email protected])
with any inquiries.

Why Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a practice of training the mind to observe one’s thoughts, emotions, and physical experiences. Research has shown that it can reduce stress and anxiety, strengthen empathy, and even combat bias.
Backed by this rapidly growing body of evidence, mindfulness has been widely adopted by hospitals, Fortune 500 companies, K-12 education, law schools, professional sports teams, and the military.

why mindfulness

How Mindfulness Can Foster a More Fair and Humane Criminal Justice System:
Empathy and Interconnection

Mindfulness strengthens the capacity for empathy and compassion[1], and can reduce implicit racial bias[2], qualities that encourage treating others fairly and humanely.

Presence & Focus

Enhanced presence and focus[3] can make criminal justice professionals more attentive, and lead to fewer flawed decisions.

Emotion Regulation

Mindfulness increases the capacity to regulate emotions in the face of stress, reduces impulsivity, and increases positive emotions[4].

Resilience

Mindfulness boosts resilience[5] and can help to prevent burnout.

Citations

[1] Klimecki, Olga M., et al. “Differential pattern of functional brain plasticity after compassion and empathy training.” Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 9.6 (2014): 873-879.

[2] Lueke, Adam, and Bryan Gibson. “Mindfulness meditation reduces implicit age and race bias: The role of reduced automaticity of responding.” Social Psychological and Personality Science 6.3 (2015): 284-291.

[3] Slagter, Heleen A et al. “Mental Training Affects Distribution of Limited Brain Resources .” Ed. Mick D Rugg. PLoS Biology 5.6 (2007): e138. PMC. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.

[4] Kemeny, Margaret E., et al. “Contemplative/emotion training reduces negative emotional behavior and promotes prosocial responses.” Emotion 12.2 (2012): 338.

[5] Tugade, Michele M., and Barbara L. Fredrickson. “Regulation of positive emotions: Emotion regulation strategies that promote resilience.” Journal of Happiness Studies 8.3 (2007): 311-333.

Our Work

 

 

mindful courtroom

San Jose Project

In 2014 we launched an innovative pilot project in Santa Clara County, Calif.––which includes San Jose metro area, Silicon Valley, and Stanford University––to introduce mindfulness throughout one county’s criminal justice system. Since then, we have trained more than 250 court system professionals (including prosecutors, public defenders and judges) and more than 800 Sheriffs Correctional Deputies in mindfulness, introducing new skills that participants say has made them more effective and compassionate in their work and improved their wellbeing.
Preliminary research shows that course participants are receiving valuable inner tools, with strong, statistically significant gains on many fronts. We look forward to bringing these benefits to more cities.
Read more about our trainings for legal professionals.
Read more about our trainings for corrections professionals.

San Jose DAs office mindfulness

San Jose DA’s Office (6-Week Course)

Mindful Justice Conference

 
In 2015, in collaboration with the Fetzer Institute, The Center for the Study of Law and Society at UC Berkeley, and the Prison Mindfulness Institute, we convened a diverse group of 24 leaders bringing mindfulness throughout the criminal justice system––from police and at-risk youth, to courts, prisons, and victims of crime––to share findings and build a nationwide movement for mindfulness in criminal justice.
Read more about the conference and check out conference videos.

 

 

mindful justice conference