We watch Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and laugh. We cringe and we also cry. And while entertaining, imprisonment is a reality for more than 213,700 women and 2,092,400 men in the US, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Less mainstream than OITNB, but equally refreshing is CNN’s “United Shades of America” with W. Kamau Bell, which calls attention to pressing topics like race and identity. Recently, TheTaiLife.com’s founder Tai Beauchamp had the opportunity to interview Kamau after a screening of Episode 8: Behind the Walls during the ABFF in Miami. Like me, she was struck to learn the stats associated with our failing prison system.

You might know that the prison system is one of the most inefficient and dehumanizing business (yes, business) in the US. It’s been described as a system to designed hide and not to reform inmates.  (San Quentin, even as one of the most notorious institutions in the world is an anomaly that has placed a focus on reform and rehabilitation though seemingly contradicting the fact that most of the inmates who benefit from supportive programming will never be released.)

For the majority, individuals go into penitentiary system, and in many cases, come out less prepared to deal with real life than before they went in. So, around 60% end up going back in, within 3 years of release. Most of these men are of color and disproportionately so. In 2008 African-American and Hispanics comprised 58% of the criminal justice population. And the percentage of veterans who are incarcerated are high as well. That’s terrible and has negative consequences for everyone. It impacts individuals, their families, their communities, and society at large.

But if we wait for the system to reform itself, it will never happen. In fact, it will only worsen. It’s time that our community at large take whatever steps, especially small but powerful steps to improve recidivism. And no surprise here, but this is exactly the opposite to a certain US Republican Presidential nominee’s desire to build more walls and create more barriers and boundaries. But what if I shared the idea to free inmates from the inside out –through meditation.

Enter meditation teacher Charles Knoles. He’s someone I greatly admire and has a dream to teach meditation to 1,000 inmates—because the simple practice of meditation provides huge benefits to inmates personally and collectively. Inmates who meditate have a 30-plus-percent reduction in recidivism rates after three years, as compared to those who don’t.

So why should you care? Whether or not you have a loved one or know someone who has been incarcerated or not, the truth is only when people step up and put the work in, do good things come into the world. After reading about our criminal justice system, it’s evident that like education, healthcare, and economic opportunity, until the “least” of us are served, we can’t thrive. I want more good things to come into the world, so I’ve committed to helping change-makers like Charlie to send their positive ripples across society.
So what can you do? 1) Learn more about this failing system. 2) Be empathetic to the plight of these men and women. 3) Explore the power of meditation personally. And last but not least 4) consider contributing to this special project. For each $29 donation via Indiegogo, 1 inmate will be taught meditation through Charlie’s program. With your $29 donation, you will also receive a beautiful limited edition Freedom Mala from Modern Om, that will remind you of practicing Compassion in your daily life.


AAEAAQAAAAAAAARJAAAAJDgyMWFhMzMyLTExNjMtNGRmYy1iZjgwLWNjZGEyMTkzNjRiOQMyk Likhov is the founder of Modern Om. He’s passionate about people, wellness, and a entrepreneur with a proven track record. He lives in Miami, Florida.