In 1973, Bo and Sita Lozoff started encouraging people to use their prison time to do spiritual practices that can lead toward the most radical freedom. Over the past 40+ years we’ve seen extraordinary examples of people who accepted the challenge. We’ve known prison monks who are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and otherwise. If you want to be a prison monk, you can do it.
The Prison-Ashram Project
In 1973 Ram Dass was sending his spiritual book Be Here Now into prisons and receiving countless letters back. People wrote about their personal transformations and also asked their tough spiritual questions.
Bo and Sita felt a personal connection with Ram Dass’s book as well as with the prison population because of their own brother-in-law who was incarcerated. So they teamed up with Ram Dass to help him reply to mail from inmates. Thus the Prison-Ashram Project was born.
The Prison-Ashram Project soon became Bo’s full-time job, which led him to write his first book of interfaith spiritual practices specifically for people who are incarcerated. That book, We’re All Doing Time, continues to be requested by hundreds of inmates on a weekly basis and continues to have a profound impact on people’s lives.
The Human Kindness Foundation
In 1987, the Human Kindness Foundation was founded to operate the Prison-Ashram Project. Sita continues to lead the program as the Spiritual Director alongside Catherine Dumas, the Executive Director. Bo passed away in 2012 but his words and work continue to be felt by thousands. We send his four spiritual books to prisoners around the world and receive many hundreds of letters each week.
Our Spiritual Advisory Board
Venerable Robina Courtin
Founder of the Liberation Prison Project, worldwide teacher, and Buddhist nun of the Tibetan Buddhist Gelugpa tradition and lineage of Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Father Thomas Keating
Founder of the Centering Prayer movement, spiritual guide of Contemplative Outreach, Ltd., and Trappist Christian monk at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, CO.
Gary Zukav & partner Linda Francis
Spiritual teachers. Gary has been a guest on Oprah more than 30 times and is a four-time New York Times bestselling author. His books include The Seat of the Soul, Soul Stories and The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of New Physics.
Jarvis Jay Masters
Buddhist, author of Finding Freedom and death-row inmate at San Quentin.
Retired Superintendent of Orange Correctional Center, a prison in Hillsborough, NC. Mike served for more than 30 years in the North Carolina Department of Corrections.
Founder and Executive Director of Community Success Initiative (CSI), where he draws from his own experience to help others transition from incarceration to success.
Physician, social activist, and the subject of the 1998 movie starring Robin Williams.