Yoga being used to rehabilitate inmates at CCDC

By Vanessa Murphy |

Published 02/11 2016 10:14PM

Updated 02/12 2016 11:52AM

Is jail becoming more zen?  One would think so, especially since inmates at the Clark County Detention Center are doing Yoga.

8 News NOW was the first to get a look at the program.  Many of the inmates at the Clark County Detention Center have been accused of some serious crimes.

Jail officials say Yoga is a part of a program to make sure inmates don't return if and when they walk out the door to leave the facility.  It's also about creating a safer environment inside the jail.

Dijon Lemmie said he never thought he'd do Yoga in jail.  The 19-year-old has been locked up for nearly a year.

"Bad decisions," Lemmie said.

Lemmie has been accused of armed robbery and is awaiting trial.

"I have really changed since I been in here; I can honestly say that," Lemmie said.

Dijon is one of 148 inmates in a program which started last July.

"It helps them change their mindset; helps them calm down and helps them think, 'what is it really mean to be a normal adult,' said Lt. Yancey Taylor, Clark County Detention Center?

Through the Direct Inmate Supervision Philosophy, inmates have more freedom and privileges to attend classes such as Yoga which many have learned through good behavior.

"It's a different way of policing," said Magnolia Drew, a corrections officer.  Since the program, the staff at CCDC say there's been a 70 percent reduction in house discipline.

The best part is that it's not costing taxpayers a dime.  The Yoga mats are donated and the instructors volunteer.

Dray Gardner is one of the instructors.

"We're all the same," Gardner said.  "Each one of us is one bad decision away from that situation, so I really feel compelled to let them know, you're not your past, and we can build through this once we get past this."

The hope is that men like Dijon will become productive members of society if and when they leave jail.

"Somebody gets into trouble, you steer em in the right direction," said Dijon.  "You give them the right classes; proper tools, I think that'll help build them understanding.  Some people just don't understand.   It's lack of knowledge.  I'm really happy man.  I'm happy for this stuff.  cause I didn't think nothing like this existed, Dijon concluded as he laughed.  I like it."

The program started in July 2015, so it's in the early stages.  However, the staff wants to expand it to more inmates and the women's jail.

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