Guiding Principles


Facilitating inner change among the individuals who operate the criminal justice system, those who are caught in it, and those in our communities is a critical element in addressing the fundamental inhumanity of our criminal justice system. Such change involves deepening compassion, reducing reactivity, and  increasing a sense of interconnection with others. Widespread inner change by the individuals who comprise the system is a necessary precursor to and catalyst for changing the system itself.


Training and supervision of criminal justice workers should involve practices—meditation or otherwise—that support mindful practice, behavior, and values.


All people, including those who have committed serious crimes and made mistakes, have inherent goodness that can and should be cultivated and nurtured. Acknowledging this basic goodness and capacity for rehabilitation entails an obligation to provide the means to cultivate the potential of all individuals–including juvenile and adult offenders, probationers, parolees, and others.


The transformation of the criminal justice system should be guided by community engagement and input, and enacted in partnership with community organizations.


Our institutions of criminal justice should be guided by principles of respect for human dignity and compassion for others, and these principles should be reflected in institutional practices and policies.


The integration of mindfulness into the criminal justice system must be done in a way that repairs the disproportionate harm the system has had on poor communities and communities of color.