Share the Story
Invite friends and family to explore Buddhas on Death Row and how the story connects with their own. If so inspired, share your reflections with us.
Hold a Sit
A practice of stillness and silence helped Moyo find a path forward in the darkest of places. Anyone anywhere can get on that path by dedicating a moment to reflection and observation, whether alone or in a group, whether as a one-time effort or a regular practice.
For those unfamiliar with meditation this resource may be helpful.
If interested you can connect with an Awakin Circle in your area.
Lives are enriched and often uplifted by friendship, but in prison the gift of positive connection is scarce. Through Write A Prisoner you can reach out to someone in prison. Or consider sharing a book / books that have opened windows in your own mind and heart, with someone in confinement; Books to Prisoners , the Prison Mindfulness Institute and the Human Kindness Foundation are some of the channels you can use.
The below organizations, talks & films, books, and art projects offer perspectives to the justice system, transformative work inside and outside prison walls, and restorative justice.
About the death penalty
The United States is the only country in the Western hemisphere that uses the death penalty. As of 1 January 2016, there were 2,943 people on death row. The system is riddled with racial and socioeconomic bias, error (for every ten people executed, one innocent person has been exonerated), concern for victim rights, high cost at the expense of effective prevention of violent crime, botched executions, and harm to corrections workers.
About Solitary confinement: See
Watch & Listen
- Shaka Senghor: Why your worst deeds don’t define you
- In 1991, Shaka Senghor shot and killed a man. Jailed for second degree murder, that could have been the end of the story. But it was the beginning.
- Bryan Stevenson: We need to talk about an injustice
- Human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America's justice system.
- Broken on All Sides
- This film takes a compelling look into the racial inequities within the US criminal justice system and its devastating collateral consequences.
- Ismael Nazario: What I learned as a kid in jail
- As a teenager, Ismael Nazario spent 300 days in solitary confinement. Now as a prison reform advocate he works to change the culture of American jails and prisons.
- Adam Foss: A prosecutor's vision for a better justice system
- Prosecutor Adam Foss makes his case for a reformed justice system that replaces wrath with opportunity for kids who commit crimes.
- Jacques Verduin: It's About Your Stance Not Circumstance
- A conversation with Jacques Verduin, a psychologist, community organizer and teacher who works with violent offenders. His clients transform their lives through mindfulness training and deep trauma healing, and become change agents themselves.
- Insight Prison Project
- A short film about transforming the lives of those impacted by crime and incarceration through evidenced-based programs inspired by insight, accountability, and compassion.
- Path of Freedom
- This short film introduces Fleet Maull, who found meditation during his 14-year incarceration. Now, he teaches meditation and healthy survival skills in prison.
- The Dhamma Brothers
- This film tells a dramatic tale of transformation through the stories of prison inmates who enter into an arduous meditation program.
- Doing Time, Doing Vipassana
- This film shows how an ancient meditation technique brought profound change to the notorious Tihar Prison in New Delhi, India.
- Emily Baxter: We Are All Criminals
- A conversation with Emily Baxter, a criminal justice reformer and social justice advocate, on inspiring empathy and igniting social change through personal stories of crime, privilege, justice, and injustice.
- Sujatha Baliga: Forgiveness of Unforgivable Acts
- A conversation with Sujatha Baliga, director of a restorative justice project, on punishment and healing, and alternatives to juvenile detention and zero tolerance school discipline policies. A survivor of child sexual abuse, Sujatha’s career is characterized by an equal dedication to victims and persons accused of crime.
Pick up a book
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
- A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice.
- Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better by Maya Schenwar
- Schenwar shows how the institution that locks up 2.3 million Americans—and decimates poor communities of color—is shredding the ties that, if nurtured, could foster real collective safety.
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- An account of the rebirth of a caste-like system, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars.
- Finding Freedom: Writings from Death Row by Jarvis Masters
- A collection of prison stories that traces the author’s spiritual growth in an environment where death and despair are constant companions.
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- A bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history.
Explore related efforts
- Windows on Death Row
- A collaborative art exhibit designed to expand the conversation on capital punishment in the US.
- Inside Death Row
- A graphic journalism series about death row prisoners who wrestle with questions about justice, guilt, punishment and atonement.
- This Is What Art Made by Prisoners Looks Like
- An exhibition that looks critically at prisons, humanizing those inside.
- Art Transports Us Out of Bounds
- A show of inmate art works that seeks to catalyze productive discussions about the daily life and reform of state detention centers.
- Prison Photography
- A project that comments on issues of photography, prisons, police, media, and civil liberties.
- The Captured Project:
- CAPTURED shines a light on corporate crimes that devastate our environment, economy and society, through art made by people in prison.