Giving Service at Riker’s Island Prison

When one arrives at the front gate of Riker’s prison you are certain to encounter instant adversity; trying to obtain permission to enter the jail. The systems are entirely antiquated with nothing computerized, permissions only obtained via telefaxes being sent back and forth.

After more than half an hour with a gentle correction officer searching through stacks and stacks of papers for my permission she finally said, “Sorry baby, I can’t find it. I can’t let you in”. Quick rapid-fire calls to anyone who’s phone number I had. I reached a friendly guard who works on 2 Lower South, the same cellblock where our students are. A few minutes later and we’re in. Once inside the magic with our students begins, in deep exploration of mind and emotions with the core mantra of our meditation and dharma talk being "You Are Not Your Thoughts".

At a time when liberal American values have powerful influence felt around the world, and in a town which lives to celebrate non-traditional codes of behavior like New York City, its hard to imagine that not more than one mile away from midtown Manhattan is an island of daily torture like Riker’s Island Prison. Torture and harsh punishment living right along side liberty and freedom. Part of my dedication is to tell more stories about my experiences as a volunteer yoga and meditation instructor for the organization Liberation Prison Yoga, and the incarcerated juvenile young men who are on the forefront of injustice in America all serving time at Riker’s Prison.

Marcus Glover Follow 12

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