Yoga gives female inmates life changing tools

Reported by: Alyx Sacks
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Updated: 7/28/2012 8:10 pm
For the first time News 4 was invited to see the new fitness plan at the Washoe County Sheriff's Detention Center.

The Women's Improvement Program hopes yoga will make a difference in their female inmates.

"We're all about having a mind change and doing things differently than how they came in," Brooke Howard, Detention Programs Coordinator Supervisor said.

In an effort to help inmates make those changes, yoga is now being offered twice a month for the women at the Washoe County Sheriff's detention center.

"It absolutely will change your life," yoga instructor Fran Ulm said.

The yoga classes  would have never been offered without the help of volunteer instructors.

The detention center does not pay for the yoga classes.

About 20 inmates can take a class at a time and the classes are not mandatory.

Instructors said their mission is to teach inmates the calming exercises of yoga so they can learn how handle the stresses of life better.

"The opportunity to sort of go within, the opportunity to make that connection with the mind the body and the spirit," Ulm said.

According to Howard research shows women who participate in yoga classes showed significant improvement in emotional control and their ability to calm themselves.

"People who participate in some form of yoga see a reduction in their stress level and are able to think more positively,” Howard said.

The hope is that female inmates will take the stress reducing tools and apply them in daily life once they're out of custody.

Howard said it costs $111 dollars per day to house one inmate and with the economy's impact on government resources everywhere the less repeat offenders coming in and out of the jail system the better.

"That's the point of giving them positive things to do so that they can go out and be positive citizens and do the right thing," Howard said.

Officials want inmates doing the right thing and returning to society as a positive and changed person.

As of Saturday there were just over 180 female inmates in the Washoe County Detention Center.  

Officials we spoke to said they hope to one day have yoga for male inmates as well.

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glennmm - 7/31/2012 6:23 AM
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Great story. So awesome to see yoga teachers out there volunteering their time and making differences!!
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