“Bo and I started the project over four decades ago with one simple idea: bring more kindness into the world…starting with one of its darkest corners – our jails and our prisons.”
Sita and Bo Lozoff started the Prison-Ashram Project with Ram Dass in 1973, which has grown into the largest interfaith prison ministry in the world. Sita has served as a mother to thousands of men and women who write to her from prison. Even after more than 40 years of reading mail, the letters that arrive at HKF still touch her heart deeply. The love and compassion she feels for every person is real.
Sita is the Spiritual Director at HKF. Along with Bo, she has been cited for numerous humanitarian awards, including the prestigious Temple Award for Creative Altruism from the Institute for Noetic Sciences. Their sincerity and commitment have earned the respect of hundreds of thousands of people in prisons and others around the world who feel inspired to follow a similar path of living simply and joyfully caring about others.
“The cause of all our personal problems and nearly all the problems of the world can be summed up in a single sentence: Human life is very deep, and our modern dominant lifestyle is not.”
Bo Lozoff’s first book, We’re All Doing Time, now in its 21st printing, is widely referred to as the convicts’ bible and was named by Village Voice as one of the ten books everyone in the world should read. For over 30 years Bo traveled around the world giving talks in hundreds of prisons, churches and community centers. His many roles included author, spiritual teacher, friend, counselor, musician and modern-day mystic. In 1999, Bo received an honorary doctorate degree — a Doctor of Laws — from Chicago Theological Seminary. Bo died in 2012 in a motorcycle accident.
The Complex Legacy of Bo Lozoff
HKF’s board and staff members would like to address some questions you may have about Bo. We recognize that he did not always live up to his ideals. We cannot account for Bo’s personal actions or heal the considerable pain he caused in some of his relationships. So why do we continue to distribute his materials?
Bo had a special connection to those shunned by society. He was wise, kind, inspiring, and helpful to so many. The wisdom and love that passed through him onto the pages of his books and into the hearts of people locked in cells (real or otherwise) remain. His words and insights continue to save lives – we know that from the responses we receive every day.
At the core of our work is the belief that none of us should be judged on our most hurtful actions alone. With a deep awareness of the pain and suffering that people cause, we also honor and hold up their goodness.
It is with faith in the goodness of this work that we share the best of a flawed man. The genuine love that is tangible in Bo’s books helps us spread kindness and bring hope into dark places.