TESP - an Alternative Sentencing Program
that Utilized the Transcendental Stress
for Offender Rehabilitation
Summer 2005 Newsletter
On the auspicious day of "Guru Purnima" in the
Vedic Calendar, we have the pleasure of sharing with you our Summer 2005
Chief Justice of Missouri Guest of Honor at next TESP Graduation
We are happy to announce that the next TESP
graduation will take place on Monday 29th August, at 6.00 p.m. at our
center in downtown St Louis (Centenary Church Offices, 55 Plaza Square, St
Louis, MO 63103). Our Guest of Honor will be Hon. Justice Michael A.
Wolff, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri. Senator the Hon.
Rita Days of the Missouri Legislature and several judges will be
attending the celebration, including Hon. Judge Henry E. Autrey, Federal
Judge, Hon. Judge David C. Mason, Founding Judge of TESP, Hon. Judge
Philip Heagney, and Hon. Judge Lisa Van Amburg. Our Guest Speaker will
be Arthur John Anderson, Ph D. Probation Officers from both St Louis and
Jerseyville, Illinois, have been invited to the graduation as well.
Large number of graduates
We expect about 40 probationers and parolees to graduate on this
occasion. The TESP started a group in Illinois earlier this year and
graduates from this group will be joining those in St Louis for the
celebration on the 29th of August. Families and friends of the graduates
are invited to attend. Friends of TESP are also invited to attend.
Kindly let us know in advance if you plan to attend (r.s.v.p. by email or
by telephone on 314 367 1166).
We are happy to inform you that Hon. Judge Lisa Van Amburg of the
Judicial Circuit Court of St Louis, Missouri, has joined the Advisory
Board of The Enlightened Sentencing Project, and has been actively
sentencing probationers to TESP as a condition of probation. We warmly
welcome Judge Van Amburg to TESP's Advisory Board. Judge Van Amburg is
one of several judges on the Advisory Board of TESP. The Chief Justice of
the Supreme Court of Missouri, Hon. Justice Michael A. Wolff, heads the
TESP Advisory Board. The TESP is grateful for the advice and guidance of
this august body.
Judge Van Amburg has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at Washington
University in St. Louis and a past Co-Chair of the Committee on Equal
Employment Opportunity Law. She has been a past recipient of the
following awards: President's Award of the Women Lawyers' Association of
Greater St. Louis; the Robert Walston Chubb Award of Legal Services of
Eastern Missouri; the Legal Services to Civil Liberties Award of the
American Civil Liberties Union; and the Horace Mann Award of the Missouri
Hon. Judge Lisa Van Amburg
Hon. Judge Lisa Van Amburg
of the Judicial Circuit of St Louis
Judge Van Amburg gave the following endorsement of The Enlightened
Sentencing Project on July 15, 2005.
"The first year that I was assigned to criminal court in 2003, time and
again I stared into the face of an offender pleading guilty to a drug or
alcohol-related offense, domestic abuse, or answering to a charge of
violation of a condition of probation. The faces all showed defeat,
humiliation, shame, anger and frustration with the lives they were living
and the predicament they had got themselves into. Most of these offenders
are people extremely limited in their ability to cope with life's
stresses. They self-medicate with illegal drugs and alcohol. They seemed
compelled, even in the face of imprisonment, to continue their illegal
drug use; assault their families, drive while intoxicated or to engage in
other illegal conduct.
I struggled to understand why and how it was they appeared to lack control
over their lives. I tried a number of sentencing alternatives, regarding
prison as a last resort. Slowly, options other than prison began to
diminish. The legislature of the State of Missouri, at the conclusion of
the last budget year, slashed funding for community based drug treatment
and other services intended to keep non-violent offenders out of prison.
We judges are now left with few choices, either imprisonment or probation
with little or no likelihood of success.
This predicament led me to seek more information about The Enlightened
Sentencing Project. Perhaps the western ideas of how best to deal with
these offenders do not work as well as we assumed. Perhaps it is time to
try a new approach, one that does not require a great expenditure of
public or private funds and one that has demonstrated hope for success.
The TESP program offers this hope. It teaches important stress management
and coping skills while at the same time giving offenders confidence in
their ability to survive whatever life dishes out, without having to
resort to substance abuse.
I personally have undergone the transcendental stress management
meditation training and feel that it has been helpful in lowering my blood
pressure, which tends to rise to unhealthy levels during stressful times.
I have slowly come to understand why the results I see with offenders whom
I have sent through the program are so promising. The TESP trainers do
not talk to the offenders about drugs and alcohol. Nobody tests their
urine or lectures about bad behavior, failure, bad decisions or
dysfunction. Those topics are simply not in the curriculum. Instead,
the offender is invited into a tranquil group surrounding and taught a
very simple stress management technique, meditation, which is fast gaining
acceptance in our western culture as an effective tool for combating the
debilitating effect of modern day stress on our lives.
The offenders report in their final essays their own surprise and delight
at the positive changes they have been able to make in their lives due to
their calmer demeanors and better health, which they attribute to regular
I would like to learn more about what happens after they leave the
supervision of the courts. I am presently encouraging the collection of
academically sound data as a means of measuring the progress of offenders
who go through the TESP program. I am hopeful that with sound metrics, we
will be able to establish objective measures of success and open new doors
in the field of criminal rehabilitation. I strongly recommend that other
judges, prosecutors, public and private defenders give this program a
chance. I am grateful to the TESP program for the opportunities it
presents to these offenders and to the court for a viable and cost
effective alternative to prison."
New Member of the
Board of Directors
We wish to welcome Ms. AnneLuise Montgomery, JD, MBA, to our Board of
Directors. AnneLuise is an attorney from Kentucky and has been a
volunteer with TESP for some time now. We are happy that AnneLuise has
joined our Board as Treasurer.
Success and progress of
The Enlightened Sentencing Project
TESP continues to make inroads in the field of criminal justice reform
and rehabilitation with the support of friends of the Project. We look
forward to welcoming many of you at our Graduation on 29th August. Those
of you in the field who are considering starting a rehabilitation project
in your state or country are encouraged to attend the Graduation as you
will have the opportunity to hear from the brilliant panel of judges and
special guests assembled for the occasion, and to meet the probation
officers and graduates personally.
With warmest good wishes to all,
Farrokh & Ruffina
Bringing the Light of Knowledge
to the Field of Offender Rehabilitation