Through the Eyes of Inmates – Week 3

Scroll down for this week’s reflections on compassion for friends and family written by Donovan Correctional Facility inmates.

At Compassion It, we envision a day where compassion is practiced by every person, for every person, on every day. When we say every person, we mean EVERY person…including prison inmates.

Thanks to partnerships with the nonprofits Brilliance Inside and the Prison Yoga Project, we’re honored and thrilled that this year’s 30-Day Compassion It Challenge includes inmates from one of the yards at RJ Donovan Correctional Facility. We’re meeting with a small group of Donovan inmates each week in order to take a deeper dive into mindfulness, compassion, and self-compassion. By sharing the inmates’ stories and reflections of mindfulness and compassion with you each week and by sharing your stories of compassion with them, we hope to begin to bridge the vast gap that exists between those on the inside and the rest of us on the outside.

We gave the inmates paper Compassion It wristbands to remind them to make compassion a priority each day. They voluntarily joined the challenge as a way to cultivate compassion and create a more peaceful environment within themselves, within the prison walls, and beyond. This challenge offers inmates the opportunity to give back and make amends for the crimes they committed.

Compassion for Friends & Family

By: Anonymous Inmate

A few days ago, it seemed like something was wrong with one of my cellies. He had just gotten off the phone and was feeling down. He told me his grandmother was in the hospital.

It’s sad to hear that. At that moment, I just listened to him and heard him out. He really needed to talk to someone, so I was glad to be able to be there for him. Afterwards, I thought about my grandma…I love and miss her.

BONUS: A Compassion It Story from the Past

Here’s a time I was compassion it.

I grew up by USC in a gang-infested area, where everyone seemed to be poor but happy. During the day, you would see kids all over from street to street playing and running around.

I remember one day I was taking a short cut home walking through an alley when I heard puppies crying. They were under an abandoned house. I could hear them but couldn’t see them, and I couldn’t get close because there was a big fence.

So I did what any kid would do. I ran home and went straight to the freezer. I grabbed a pack of hot dogs and ran back to feed the puppies. For a few days I fed the puppies until my mom noticed that all the meat was gone. I had given them all the ham, hotdogs, baloney, and cookies. I couldn’t help myself. I felt that if I didn’t feed them they were going to die.

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