TESP - an Alternative Sentencing Program
that Utilized the Transcendental Stress
for Offender Rehabilitation
Judge David C. Mason, Founding Judge of TESP
There is a trend in
contemporary jurisprudence for courts to take a more therapeutic approach
to the law and court practice. The Enlightened Sentencing ProjectSM
an example of such a development.
Honorable Judge David C.
Mason of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court in St Louis, Missouri,
after carefully studying the scientific research on the Transcendental
Meditation(R) program and its application to criminal
justice, decided that the TM program provided the “most effective way of
helping a person deal with stress short of psychotropic drugs”.
program has been effectively used within the prison system in
California, Massachusetts and Vermont, and there is scientific research
documenting the many benefits of the program in this setting as well. The
research clearly indicates significantly reduced recidivism, reduced
aggression and substance abuse among inmates practicing the TM technique.
Transcendental Stress Management(R) program is an adaptation of the
Transcendental Meditation program for rehabilitation and criminal justice
On March 11, 1996, in his courtroom before three TV stations, Judge
Mason proclaimed his intention to use the
Transcendental Stress Management (TSM) program as a condition of probation.
In the same week, Judge Mason made the TSM program a part of a
Since then, hundreds of
the Transcendental Stress Management (TSM)
with TESP and reported
significant benefits to their lives and to those around.
The late Farrokh K. Anklesaria
Founder & Former Executive Director of TESP
The late Farrokh K. Anklesaria, Esq., and Ruffina Farrokh Anklesaria,
Directors of The Enlightened Sentencing Project. Farrokh was the
Founder and Executive Director of TESP and Ruffina was the Project Manager,
taking care of all administrative details.
Farrokh was a Barrister-at-Law.
He was trained as a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation program in
the 1970s and worked closely with the late Maharishi
Mahesh Yogi, Founder of the TM program, for many years.
The philosophical basis and inspiration for The Enlightened
Sentencing Project, and the Transcendental Stress Management program was derived from Maharishi’s teachings.
appointed International Director
of Rehabilitation Programs for Maharishi European Research University in
Seelisberg, Switzerland, in 1979, and had a wealth of experience in
implementing rehabilitation programs. Trained by Maharishi for this
role, he was the world’s leading expert in the implementation of the Transcendental
Stress Management (TSM) program
in legal and correctional settings.
Farrokh conducted and directed rehabilitation programs in prison
systems, schools and governmental organizations throughout the world. He instructed
over 3,000 people in Transcendental Meditation and Transcendental Stress
Management programs in 12 countries.
He directed programs for more than 30,000 inmates and
correctional professionals in prisons in the United States, Brazil, Sri
Lanka, India, Kenya and the West African Republic of Senegal.
and edited five publications on the application of the TM program to the fields of
law, justice and rehabilitation.
He met with hundreds of executive, legislative, judicial and correctional
leaders at all levels of government in the United States and abroad. He addressed numerous legal and correctional conferences
as well as press conferences and television and radio audiences worldwide.
Ruffina Farrokh Anklesaria, M.A.
TESP Director and Project Manager
Ruffina Farrokh Anklesaria has a
background in diplomacy. She has an M.A. in International
Affairs from Washington University in St Louis, and an Advanced
Certificate in Nonprofit Management (graduate level) from the same
university. She became an instructor of Maharishi's Transcendental
Meditation program in 1978, and taught hundreds of people to meditate in the
United States and in the Caribbean. Among those instructed were the Mother Superior of the Carmelite nuns in Trinidad and
Tobago, the First Lady of one Caribbean country, and scores of students in
the Philippines, at the invitation of the government there.
also a poet, author and publisher. Her first book of poetry is "Kavita
- Poems of Light and Communion."
Ruffina also ran their own
organization, the Transcendental Stress
Management Organization LLC,
teaching the Transcendental Stress Management program to specialized
groups (e.g. members of the judiciary, probation officers, etc) and
members of the public. Ruffina runs this organization at present.
The mission statement
of The Enlightened Sentencing Project was to bring light to the field of rehabilitation by teaching offenders
high-quality and holistic self-development, health-promoting and
stress-reducing techniques, including the
Transcendental Stress Management
program. Every human being can be liberated from within and every
offender should be given the tools to become fully enlightened, empowering
him/her to make maximum contribution to society in the most positive way.
The Enlightened Sentencing Project
was a non-profit organization incorporated in the State of
Missouri on September 8, 1997. It was a 501 (c) 3 organization and
all donations made to the Project were tax-deductible.
Sentencing Project taught a course of holistic health strategies to its
students. These strategies reduced stress, promoted psychological
development, improved health and improved behavior (see Scientific Research).
The principal technique employed was the
Transcendental Stress Management (TSM)
Once taught, the student
became self-sufficient in his or her ability to reduce stress and
experienced a wide range of benefits.
resulted in probationers reporting more interest in educational programs,
successful job performance, peace within the household, decreased
substance abuse and improved health. (Read the
by the participants.)
Classes were offered in St Louis, Missouri and
consisted of the following:
Students did psychological tests pre and post-participation in the TESP
program and these were evaluated by a research psychologist.
Students also did a self-evaluation and reported on the results of the
program themselves. They were eligible for graduation after
successful completion of the course with TESP.
Clients of The Enlightened Sentencing
Project were principally male African-Americans between the ages of 19
and 40. They came from poor families, had been drug abusers, and
had not always been successful in school or employment situations.
sent by the courts and may have committed any number of crimes – from
driving while intoxicated to manslaughter. Judges decide whether the
probationers before them might have benefitted from a course with TESP
and sentenced them accordingly. Clients were also referred by their
Probation and Parole Officer, under special circumstances.
It should be noted that the
Transcendental Stress Management
(TSM) program is easily
learned by anyone and can be effectively used by people from any ethnic or
cultural background. Practice of the TSM program is not dependent on
a specific lifestyle or belief system.
Board of Directors and
There was a five-member Board
of Directors and an Advisory Board.
A number of distinguished jurists and
professionals served on the Advisory Board of The Enlightened Sentencing
The Enlightened Sentencing Project
enjoyed a good reputation with these distinguished jurists who were called upon to be speakers at various TESP
functions. They also gave their written endorsements of the program.
Among them were:
The Hon. Justice Michael A. Wolff,
former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri
The Hon. Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr., former Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court of Missouri
Senator the Hon. Rita Heard Days,
The Hon. Henry E.
Autrey, United States District Judge, Eastern District of Missouri
The Hon. Sherri B. Sullivan,
Judge, Missouri Court
The Hon. Anna Forder,
Senior Judge, 22nd Judicial Circuit Court, St Louis, Missouri
The Hon. David C. Mason,
Judge, 22nd Judicial Circuit Court, St Louis, Missouri
Lisa VanAmburg, Division 7, Judicial Circuit Court, St Louis,
Raven, Ph.D., world renowned botanist, Director of the Missouri
Botanical Gardens, Engelmann Professor of Botany at Washington
University, and President of the American Association for the
Advancement of Science, the world's largest organization of
James D. Pearson, Attorney-at-Law
Derald L. Gab, Attorney-at-Law
Arthur John Anderson, Ph.
Attorney, Publisher and Lecturer
Dr Gyanendra Mahapatra, M.D., M.B.A., long-standing
instructor in Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhis program.
The budget of The Enlightened Sentencing
Project was approximately $100,000 per year.
The Project employed two full-time staff.
Several volunteers worked with the Project including Dr John Sterling, a
research psychologist who gave assistance with psycho-social research, Ms. Sally Hezel, an administrative assistant,
Mr. Lawrence Adams, a TESP class assistant, and Mr. Frank Popper who
provided videotaping services.