Mindfulness in the Criminal Justice System
Mindfulness in the criminal justice system is normally restricted to the perceived evidence based approaches. However, given that many of the issues within the criminal justice system are a direct result of social issues including inequity, inequality, injustice and discrimination. It’s again important that our provisions in criminal justice sectors, include educational elements, and awareness of the social and cultural aspects of the lived experience, that fuel criminal activity, and cause vulnerable members of society to become entangled with crime in the first place.
Collaboration is key
Ultimately, our collaborations within the criminal justice system are focused on the provision of compassionate educational trainings, that offer the criminal justice and reform systems access to alternative interventions and preventative measures that can be applied to addressing and preventing crimes associated with racial hatred. As part of a reform and or rehabilitation of offenders and victims of hate crime and discriminatory offences, the Urban Mindfulness Foundation provide a unique training intervention desgined to deepen a persons undertanding of socially constructed differences that cause seperation and suffering from who and what we truly are.
MBIT for Social Justice Programme
We have created an MBIT for Social Justice programme targeted towards those working within the criminal justice system, those who are vulnerable to criminality in the context of hate crime and discrimination and those who have been subject to hate and race based crime. These variances in delivery ensure MBIT – For Justice can be delivered as an reformative intervention, preventative measure and agent for healing, prosocial agency and purpose.
Importantly, MBIT – Social Justice can also be targeted towards the police force, social and probationary service staff where informed decisions need to be made with a clear understanding of the social and cultural situation or context in order to address the root cause of the issues at hand.
The logical alternative to unconcious bias training
MBIT – for justice, also provides the sector with an alternative and more effective option to unconscious bias training because it invites an exploration of inclusion and exclusion more socially, collectively and institutionally opposed to dealing with racism from a totally person centred perspective.
From the top down
When introducing Mindfulness to the criminal justice sector and institutions, it also feels important that we encourage senior management themselves to engage with the programmes experientially first. This is important as it helps galvanise an understanding of the trainings potential and offers the opportunity for senior staff to add their experiential and contextual expertise into what and how the programme is delivered.
Its also important to say that whilst there is a great deal of scientific evidence to support mindfulness. It is equality important to highlight that the evidence base is largely based on delivery in clinical settings to particular populations that mean we cannot transpose the existing research into application in the criminal justice system or workplace for example.
Moreover, apart from the studies we have completed on mindfulness for the BPOC community, there is little to no evidence base for mindfulness for BPOC participants available anywhere in the UK.
Consequently, we always encourage experiential engagement with the programme as part of the organisations process of building your own evidence base and trust in the practice before rolling it out to clients or service users.
This means we normally start with those at the “top”, or those who wish to implement the intervention as a process of refining things to be delivered to address specific contextual needs of victims, perpetrators or staff for example. Moreover, this ensures the people we work with understand what we are offering on an experiential level that too becomes part of the evidence base and collaborative development process.
We believe – Who feels it, knows it and unless you feel it, you will never know it.
This process of experiential introduction also ensures the chance to check intentions and motivations align ethically between practitioners and organisations that is again very important if we are to do all that is reasonably practical to reduce any risks of causing harm.
As such, we have a careful process of introduction that does take time but is an important part of the process, rooted in compassionate action and the wish to first do no harm.
Courses currently offered in Criminal Justice settings
We offer the above courses in bespoke formats, from half day work shops, full day workshops, weekend, weekly or monthly sessions depending on requirements.