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    Spring 2004
    Newsletter

       Introducing
       TESP to IL



       Distinguished
       Guests



       Congratulatory
       Letters

       Hon. Justice
       Michael Wolff
      
       Hon. Judge
       H. Autrey
      
       Hon. Judge
       A. Forder
      
       Hon. Judge
       P. Heagney
    
       Introductory
       Remarks

       Hon. Judge
       T Russell
      


       Keynote
       Address
      


      TESP Overview


      Probation and
      Parole Officers


      Auspicious
      Day


       Acknowledge-
       ments

      

   

__________
 

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

Spring 2004 Newsletter
TESP in Illinois
 



From left: Farrokh Anklesaria, Hon. Judge Dennis Schwartz, Hon. Chief Judge Tom Carmody, Hon. Judge David C. Mason and Hon. Judge Thomas G. Russell
, Jersey
       County Courthouse, Jerseyville, IL, April 22, 2004

 


Dear Friends and Supporters of The Enlightened Sentencing Project:

Introducing TESP to Jerseyville, IL
We are delighted to inform you that The Enlightened Sentencing Project was invited by Hon. Judge Thomas G. Russell, Circuit Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit of the State of Illinois, to make a presentation on the stress management program offered by TESP for the rehabilitation of offenders.  The presentation was made on April 22, 2004, in Judge Russell's courthouse in Illinois.  Hon. Judge Russell made introductory remarks and Hon. Judge David C. Mason, founding judge of The Enlightened Sentencing Project in St Louis, Missouri, gave the keynote address.  The presentation included an address by Mr. Farrokh Anklesaria, Founder and Executive Director of TESP.  It took place in the main courtroom of the Jersey County Courthouse in Jerseyville, Illinois. 
 

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Distinguished Guests
Among those who were in the audience were:
Hon. Judge Tom Carmody, Chief Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit from Macoupin County
Hon. Judge Dennis Schwartz, Circuit Judge from Sangamon County
Mr. Theodore Carter, Jr., Field Coordinator of Probation Services, for the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts in Springfield
States Attorney of Jersey County, Mary Kirbach
Assistant States Attorney of Jersey County, Kevin Tellor
Chief Probation Officer of Jersey County, Mr. Richard Perdun,
Probation Officers Mike Jurkanin and Thomas Woelfel
Jersey County Sheriff, Paul Cunningham
Director of the Tri-County Counseling Center, Carol Schaffner
Circuit Clerk, Charles Huebener
Chief Public Defender Eric Pistorius
Public Defender Anne Clough
 

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Congratulatory Letters
On this occasion, the judges who currently sentence probationers to TESP in St Louis sent Judge Russell their congratulations and good wishes. Good wishes were also received from Hon. Justice Michael A. Wolff of the Supreme Court of Missouri.  Following are excerpts from the letters sent by the judges:
 


Hon. Justice Michael A. Wolff of the Supreme Court of Missouri wrote:
"...I am pleased to learn that you are starting a program of rehabilitation for your offenders through The Enlightened Sentencing Project.  From my St Louis judicial colleagues, I have learned that the stress management program offered by The Enlightened Sentencing Project improves the stress coping abilities of offenders.  I have participated in one of the graduation ceremonies and have read the probationers' essays.  I have been very impressed by the probationers' own accounting of their successes.

The Enlightened Sentencing Project, as you know, provides simple techniques that relieve stress in offenders.  Stress is often a root cause of criminal behavior, and attacking the problem at its source seems to have positive results in many cases, as far as I have seen from those graduating from The Enlightened Sentencing Project.  I wish you well in this endeavor.  I hope your offenders will attain the kind of success that those in St Louis currently have found with The Enlightened Sentencing Project.  I would be interested to know what your experience is in implementing the project in your circuit."

 

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

 

Hon. Judge Henry E. Autrey wrote:
"...As you know, my former colleagues from the 22nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri and I, have been in the vanguard for making the TESP program available to as many probationers and parolees as possible.  This is for one simple reason - The Enlightened Sentencing Project provides a tool by which criminal defendants can be productive, positive and virtually stress-free. 
 
I have found that participants in the TESP program grow and develop in ways I have rarely seen in other probationers.  They have a positive social attitude.  They secure employment.  They exhibit responsibility by maintaining positive probation reports and they seem to mature emotionally, that is, they appear less stressed, anxious, nervous or restless.  These are considerable indicia of a responsible person with his life under control as opposed to life controlling him.  In short, the graduates of this program take responsibility for their lives.  As I understand the purpose of probation, such a result is exactly what we, in the criminal justice system, seek to achieve.
 
The probationers and parolees I have sent to TESP have developed from being non-caring, unmotivated, disinterested individuals to energized, clear-thinking, thoughtful individuals.  My experience with the stress management program that is taught by TESP and its effects upon my probationers has been rewarding and quite gratifying.  It is a tool that all judges can use to effectively perform their task."


 
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Hon. Judge Anna A. Forder, Senior Judge

 

Senior Judge Anna C. Forder wrote:
"...This is a great step forward and I assure you that you will be pleased with the outcome.  While small obstacles may present themselves in convincing those around you, it will be worth the effort in overcoming these.
 
As you know so well, Judge, the many programs available to us for probationers, have very limited results.  The bottom line is that most of the offenders end up back in the system within a short time - they are not at all rehabilitated.  But after The Enlightened Sentencing Project, they seem to make a change in their lives.  They report this themselves in the inspiring course completion essays which they write when they finish the course with The Enlightened Sentencing Project.

As judges, we are able to initiate new programs that have been proven effective.  My colleagues here in St Louis, associated with The Enlightened Sentencing Project, join me in congratulating you on this step to introduce a truly effective program for rehabilitation. ..."

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Hon. Judge Philip D. Heagney, Circuit Judge
22nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri

 

Hon. Judge Philip Heagney wrote:
"...I am heartened to see offenders graduate from the TESP because the program seems to help many of them make significant changes in their lives.  The positive effects of the Program show in the reports participants write concerning their experiences with meditation and in the reports I receive from their probation officers.  So far, I have had very few probation revocation hearings for defendants who have graduated from TESP.

We know that many traditional rehabilitation methods fail to significantly change too many criminal defendants, and we know that no one method will work for everyone.  I have assigned over 200 probationers to TESP to help them deal with two of the root problems of their criminal conduct, namely, their inability to deal positively with the many stress factors in their lives and their penchant for making decisions without considering the long-term consequences of their actions.  I am convinced that offenders improve on many fronts when they are able to significantly lower their stress levels, and transcendental meditation seems to be an effective tool to achieve this goal.
 
Please accept my best wishes for your initiative with The Enlightened Sentencing Project.  Whatever progress you can make in rehabilitation work benefits all of us."
 

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Introductory Remarks
Hon. Judge Russell gave a marvelous introduction to the program.  Here are excerpts from his remarks:
"...the success of transcendental meditation as a therapeutic tool of the criminal justice system is not merely anecdotal.  Studies have been conducted in maximum security prisons in the US and in other countries around the world which demonstrate the almost miraculous effectiveness of this technique.  The evidence is that this technique of meditation, consistently and conscientiously practiced, can transform lives permanently for the better.

I became interested in the Project about 18 months ago when a friend shared with me an inspiring video of a recent graduation ceremony of The Enlightened Sentencing Project in St Louis.  Immediately I got in touch with the Director, Farrokh Anklesaria, was invited to his home for dinner with several judges from the St Louis Circuit court . I was strongly impressed by the information Farrokh shared with me including the studies which strongly support its incredible effectiveness.  I was also impressed that certain Justices of the Supreme Court of Missouri have endorsed the Project without reservation. 

The premise of the program's effectiveness is that consciousness is unitary and infinite; as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of TM has said: "consciousness is the field of all possibilities".  Maharishi has attempted to address almost every field of human endeavor in government, politics, economics, science and the arts from this standpoint for a period of over 40 years.  His premise is now being vindicated by quantum physics which confirms the inter-dependence of all life; that all matter and life is embraced in, and the manifestation of, one gigantic energy field.  Scientists are now agreeing that how we look at something, the consciousness we bring to it, affects what we see.  That literally, at the subatomic level, when a butterfly flutters its wings in Jerseyville it can contribute to the formation of a typhoon in the Indian Ocean. 

To me these are compelling reasons for considering an alternative therapeutic approach which may seem innovative and cutting edge, but at the same time based on sound scientific studies over many years. ."
Judge Russell then read out the letters from the judges in St Louis.  He also referred to the excellent and compelling testimonials given by the probationers at the Project's graduation ceremonies.  He said:  "They [these testimonials] were so inspiring that I felt it would be neglectful of me in my role as presiding judge not to give this program serious consideration for implementation in Jersey County."
 

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Keynote Address
Hon. Judge David Mason, delivered the keynote address. He spoke of the need for offenders to develop their stress-coping skills and to take control of their lives:
".I don't coddle criminals but I do believe in giving them an opportunity to take control of their lives. Every psychologist knows that stress is without question the beginning of every angry acting out...you get angry; you get stressed, but you deal with it.  .you don't do that because we can deal with it.  That's called your "stress-coping skill".  And the great majority of the people in this world, thank God - have enough of the skill to cope with their stresses to avoid acting out.

Judge Mason spoke of stress and poverty as being the universal causes of crime:
".many of us are somewhat insulated in terms of our ability to deal with stress.  That's why in every place in the world where you find a high degree of poverty, you find a high degree of crime and alcoholism and drug addiction - anywhere in the world.  Why?  Because poverty is the very essence of the highest stress-causing circumstance that human beings face.  Your baby is hungry and you can't feed him is stressful! Your being hungry or fearful is stressful!  Ad so, it doesn't matter where you go - the crime problem you see in North St Louis you'll see in south Mexico City.  The crime problem you see in Chicago you'll see in Entebbe.  It doesn't matter where you go, what your ethnic group is.  Poverty breeds high stress which necessarily relates to those in that group who have less than normal stress-coping skills turning to anti-social behavior, drugs and alcohol. "

Judge Mason explained why he favored TSM over all other techniques and programs of rehabilitation and spoke of anger management and boot camp programs as a huge waste of money:

"... Knowing that is why I stand so strongly in favor of the use of a technique like Transcendental Stress Management program.  Why TSM?  You'll say:  "Come on, judge, there are all kinds of ways to deal with stress".  But when you consider the fact that the individuals you're dealing with are facing an incredibly high degree of stress, you've got to ask yourself what is the best method.

...I looked into some of the counseling like anger management programs - don't get me started on that waste of money...I've challenged some of the people who work in that field to come anywhere near the results I've seen with Transcendental Stress Management.  The more I've looked the more I've come to the conclusion that the TSM program appears by all the research that's been out there, to be the strongest medicine for individuals who have difficulties in coping with stresses in their lives - who have less than normal stress-coping skills.  So that's why I recommend Transcendental Stress Management program.  I challenge each and every one of you to do a dispassionate judicial analysis.  When we think about boot camps - how many states just ran to the concept of boot camps?  I start checking up the studies on boot camps to see exactly what they have accomplished.  Everyone who's working in this field knows what I'm talking about - biggest waste of money we've ever engaged in in criminal justice! .Judicial drug rehabilitation - we've been involved in criminal drug rehabilitation in this country for 30 - 40 years.  Anybody here is going to raise his hand and say "yeah, I think judicial rehabilitation has stemmed the tide of drug-related crime in this country."  Anybody would dare raise their hands and say that?!  Yet we dropped hundreds of billions of dollars on it. ...."

He explained why he knew that TSM would work and of his experience with TESP
"...Well, you'll say:  "Judge Mason, what makes you think TSM's gonna work?"  . I did do a lot of research on it.  I read some of these studies and there was enough there to let me know that there was a lot of potential for it to work.  Now, after eight years, I can talk a little bit more than potential.  See, in eight years of doing this, I've had only one criminal offender who went through the program that I've had to send back to jail! .. hundreds have gone through the program . I've only had one! . The revocations that I do have are the people I haven't sent through the TSM program.  If we had some more money and some more teachers, I could get my recidivism rate down even more."

He praised the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation featuring TSM and the work of TESP
"Can it work?  I would commend to you the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation!  [Judge Mason here referred to the Journal's excellent documentation and collation of studies done on the TM program and offender rehabilitation.]"

Judge Mason challenged his colleagues in Illinois to "give it a try"
".I leave you with that challenge.  Give it some thought; try with some offenders.  I say to you exactly what I said to the judge in Australia when I spoke there, who was thinking about giving it a try.  You will be successful.  I'll stake my career on it!  He's been successful; and I am still on the bench! I have told every newspaper in every country and locally, "I challenge you to do your own independent research.  You say that I am wrong; you find that I am wrong, come to me with it.  I will stake my career on it".   No one has challenged me yet!  I say:  "Find a technique that is short of psychotropic drugs, that is more effective in helping people deal with stress and I will use it!"  No one has come to me yet!  I challenge you!..."
 

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Slide Show and TESP Overview

Mr. Farrokh Anklesaria, TESP Founder and Executive Director, gave a presentation following Judge Mason.  He gave an overview of the program using a beautiful slide show with the research on the program and showing the groups in St Louis participating in the program.
 

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Probation Officers from St Louis
A number of probation officers from St Louis came to Illinois for the occasion.  Probation and Parole Supervisor Rita Saunders, PO Daniel Spring and PO Dave Jennings, Liaison Officer, all answered questions at the end of the probation.  TESP Project Manager Ruffina F. Anklesaria also answered questions.
 


Presentation made on "Day of Lasting Achievement"
The presentation went well and the interchange was cordial and lively.  Coincidentally, the date of the presentation was the Day of Lasting Achievement in the Vedic Calendar, "Akshaya Tritya".
In the coming months the officers in Illinois will decide whether they will follow in the footsteps of their colleagues in St Louis and include TESP's stress management program as one of the rehabilitative tools offered to offenders in that jurisdiction.
 

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Acknowledgements
The Enlightened Sentencing Project appreciates the wisdom of Judge Thomas Russell in making TESP open to investigation by senior officers in his jurisdiction.  We are hopeful that TESP  program will soon be implemented in Illinois.
 
TESP also wishes to express its appreciation to Hon. Judge David Mason for his vision and his dedication in bringing TESP to other jurisdictions, and to the Probation and Parole Officers from the Probation and Parole Department of St Louis, Missouri, who came to lend their support and to answer questions on the occasion: 
Ms. Rita Sanders, Supervisor
Mr. Dave Jennings
Mr. Daniel Spring
 
The Enlightened Sentencing Project wishes to acknowledge and thank Frank Popper Productions for recording the keynote address and introductory remarks.  A videotape of the occasion will be available in a week or so.  You can book your copy now at $35 per tape. 
 
With warmest good wishes to all, especially to our supporters who have made it possible for us to come this far.  Together we will bring the light of consciousness-based rehabilitation across America and beyond.
 
Farrokh & Ruffina Anklesaria

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Quotes

"It is a very opportune time when the experienced people in the field of law have begun to realize that something may be added in the realm of law to fulfill that long-felt need to strengthen and make law capable of really producing order everywhere, in every country, in every culture, so as to make the family of nations really rise to evolutionary trends of life and establish perfect order for everyone."
Maharishi

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"The success of transcendental meditation as a therapeutic tool of the criminal justice system is not merely anecdotal.  Studies have been conducted in maximum security prisons in the United States and in other countries around the world which demonstrate the almost miraculous effectiveness of this technique.  The evidence is that this technique of meditation, consistently and conscientiously practiced, can transform lives permanently for the better."

Hon. Judge Thomas Russell
Apr 22, 2004

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The Enlightened Sentencing Project was a 501 (c) 3 organization
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