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TESP - an Alternative Sentencing Program
that Utilized the Transcendental Stress Management®
 Program for Offender Rehabilitation

 



Hon. Judge David C. Mason, Founding Judge of TESP

 

History

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 (TESPSM) is 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”. 

The Transcendental Meditation(R) 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. 

The Transcendental Stress Management(R) program is an adaptation of the Transcendental Meditation program for rehabilitation and criminal justice reform. 

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 defendant’s sentence. 

Since then, hundreds of probationers learned the Transcendental Stress Management (TSM) with TESP and reported significant benefits to their lives and to those around. 
 

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The late Farrokh K. Anklesaria
Barrister-at-Law
Founder & Former Executive Director of TESP

Founding and Operations

The late Farrokh K. Anklesaria, Esq., and Ruffina Farrokh Anklesaria, M.A., were 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. 
 

Farrokh was 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.
 
 

Farrokh authored 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. 
 

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Ruffina Farrokh Anklesaria, M.A.
Former 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. 
 

Ruffina is also a poet, author and publisher. Her first book of poetry is "Kavita - Poems of Light and Communion."  
 

Farrokh and 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.
 

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Mission Statement

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.



Non-profit status

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.  
 

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Classes offered

The Enlightened 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) program.

Once taught, the student became self-sufficient in his or her ability to reduce stress and experienced a wide range of benefits. The practice resulted in probationers reporting more interest in educational programs, successful job performance,  peace within the household, decreased substance abuse and improved health.  (Read the Experiences reported by the participants.)

Classes were offered in St Louis, Missouri and consisted of the following:  

  • Seven-step course of instruction in the Transcendental Stress Management program.

  • Instruction in neuro-muscular and neuro-respiratory techniques to improve mind-body coordination.

  • 20 follow-up classes.

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.

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Demographics

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.  They were 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.

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Board of Directors and Advisory Board

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 Project. 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, Missouri Senate

  • The Hon. Henry E. Autrey, United States District Judge, Eastern District of Missouri

  • The Hon. Sherri B. Sullivan, Judge, Missouri Court of Appeals

  • 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

  • The Hon. Lisa VanAmburg, Division 7, Judicial Circuit Court, St Louis, Missouri

  • Peter 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 professional scientists.

  • James D. Pearson,  Attorney-at-Law

  • Derald L. Gab, Attorney-at-Law

  • Phil Santoni, Businessman 

  • Arthur John Anderson, Ph. D., Attorney, Publisher and Lecturer

  • Dr Gyanendra Mahapatra, M.D., M.B.A., long-standing instructor in Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhis program.

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Budget and funding

The budget of The Enlightened Sentencing Project was approximately $100,000 per year.   
 

Staff

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. 
 

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“By significantly increasing stress-coping ability, enhancing clarity of thinking and enhancing self-esteem, the Transcendental Stress Management program supplements traditional rehabilitative programs.  It helps students develop internal counseling “on the streets” to support the external counseling received in traditional programs.”

Hon. Judge David  C. Mason
May 7, 1997

 

 

 

 
 

 

 


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The Enlightened Sentencing Project was a 501 (c) 3 organization
and was not affiliated with the national Transcendental Meditation organization.