US professor suggests method to cut Jamaica's crime rate

Meditation key to slashing numbers, expert says

Monday, February 18, 2019

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UNITED States-based Professor, Dr Ashley Deans is recommending that Jamaica adopt a Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique to assist in addressing the country's crime problem.

Dr Deans made the recommendation while delivering a presentation at the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) Steering Committee last week at the Faculty of Medical Sciences at The University of the West Indies, Mona.

Transcendental Meditation technique is a form of silent meditation. It is proven to cut crime in some of the world's toughest crime plague cities in Colombia, South Africa, Argentina, Ecuador and the United States.

“Let's say if we had 300 people doing Transcendental Meditation in the advance programme together, twice a day; (this) would certainly reduce the level of crime in Jamaica and that is just the minimum, but you could always have more,” he said.

Making reference to the successes of the programme in the United Kingdom, Dr Deans said that the Transcendental Meditation technique was applied at a school in Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

“Crime was going up in Liverpool year after year during the 1980s … and (after TM intervention) there was a completely different trend in the crimes; highly statistical significance,” he disclosed.

He informed that Transcendental Meditation has proven to curb youth violence and disruption as he pointed to the successes of local school, Holy Trinity High School in Kingston.

Margaret Brissett-Bolt, former principal at the school, said that before TM or Quiet Time was introduced, the school had a high number of disciplinary problems, but after the introduction of TM, anti-social behaviours decreased by 50 to 70 per cent. These included gang activities, fights and suspensions.

“We put all of the lowest performing students into a special class and I gave them a teacher, who was a meditator. That class, which was the lowest performing class in September 2015, is now above the highest performing class that we had,” she said, via a video presentation that was shared by Dr Deans during his presentation.

Dr Deans said that TM or Quiet Time should be introduced in all schools. He also noted that it has proven to combat recidivism through holistics rehabilitation. The programme has been taught to inmates and guards in some of America's toughest prisons with key results such as a 30 per cent reduction in recidivism rates; fewer rule infractions in prison and less criminal thinking, psychological distress and trauma symptoms.

Dr Deanna Ashley, executive director of the VPA, said that her organisation was happy to have collaborated with the Jamaica Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education to bring Dr Deans to Jamaica to reveal the positive findings of TM.


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