Consciousness-Based Rehabilitation of Inmates in the Netherlands Antilles

Publication Type  Journal Article
Year of Publication  2003
Authors  Hawkins,Mark A.; Alexander,Charles N.; Travis,Frederick T.; Camelia,Carl R. T.; Walton,Kenneth G.; Durchholz,Christian F.; Rainforth,Maxwell V.
Journal Title  Journal of Offender Rehabilitation
Volume  36
Pages  205-228
Publisher  Routledge
ISBN Number  1050-9674
Abstract  The objective of the present study is to test the effects of practice of the Transcendental Meditation (TM)1 technique on recognized psychosocial and cognitive risk factors for criminal behavior. The study was conducted at the federal prison on the island of Curaccedilao, Netherlands Antilles, from August 1994 to June 1995. The 300 male subjects (experimental group = 149, control group = 151) were predominantly of African descent and ranged in age from 16 to 62 (M = 28.2, SD = 8.4). Standardized tests were translated from English into Spanish and Papiamentu (the native language of most subjects) and showed 90% word-to-word accuracy in reverse translation. Twenty-one dependent variables were reduced by principal components analysis to 6 factors. Univariate analysis of covariance for effect of group on factor change scores showed significant positive changes in the experimental group on 2 of the factors, Cognitive Distortion (p = 0.036) and Intelligence-Related Measures (p = 0.05). It showed a trend toward significance on the factor Psychological Well-Being (p = 0.082). These changes were obtained despite low compliance with treatment and high involuntary attrition. An intent-to-treat approach was used, in which all subjects for whom data are available are included. As has been seen in prior research (Hawkins, this volume), these limited results indicate that the practice of the TM technique can simultaneously reduce a risk factor (cognitive distortion) and increase a protective factor (field independence), supporting the assertion that the TM technique rehabilitates offenders by positively affecting overall human development.