Mentoring by letters

We encourage prisoners to use the hours they spend in their cells as a journey of inner change, by committing themselves to a daily discipline of meditation and yoga. This is not easy for anyone. So a large part of our work is offering guidance and support through personal corre­spondence. We aim to respond within two weeks of receiving a request for guidance.

All our letter writers regularly practise meditation and have a deep commitment to the benefits of concentration on silence and the breath. Letter writers are encouraged to keep advice to a minimum, observing appropriate boundaries for safety in maintaining contacts with prisoners. This allows the prisoner to discover his or her own process of transformation and to sustain a regular practice.

Some prisoners choose to correspond with us for a short time, some for many years. Whatever their experience, we hope they have felt better for having a sympathetic presence to encourage them on their journey towards change.

“Your empathy and understanding have gone a long way in helping me delve deep inside myself, making it easier to deal with my demons. You allowed me to see that the fire that was inside me burnt brighter than the fire that blazed around me. Yoga and meditation can bring me one with myself.”

– Danny, HMP Lewes

Peer-mentoring newsletters

People in prison also mentor each other by sharing their experiences and advice through The Prison Phoenix Trust’s quarterly newsletter. Each edition is full of insights and inspiration – as well as an illustrated yoga sequence and meditation advice. It is requested and received by nearly 5,000 people in prison.