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TESP - an Alternative Sentencing Program
that Utilized the Transcendental Stress Managementģ
 Program for Offender Rehabilitation

Seventh TESP Graduation, September 1, 2004

Speeches by Hon. Judge Henry E. Autrey
Hon. Judge Phillip Heagney
Hon. Judge Thomas Russell
Probation and Parole Officer Dave Jennings

 

 



Hon. Judge Henry E. Autrey
United States District Judge, Eastern District of Missouri

 

Address by Hon. Judge Henry E. Autrey

It is really my pleasure to be here this evening with all of you and with Judge David Mason, my long time friend, and Farrokh and Ruffina, his wife.  I know it has been a long evening.  I am not going to take a whole lot of time to say a lot of things other than thank you to my friends and as everyone else who has spoken this evening, thank you to you, the graduates.


[Referring to the TESP Award  received by Judge Autrey from TESP at the graduation ceremony moments before]

It is not so much what I have done that is so great.  But the little I have done has provided me with an opportunity to get this award. It is my probationers, ladies and gentlemen.  What you have done and the successes in your lives while being in the TESP program.  Successes in your lives after coming out of the program has created all of this for me.  This is entirely consistent with what TSM is all about - living an orderly existence within yourself so that you can be successful and live in an orderly fashion with everything that is around you.

 

You know my good friend [Judge] David Mason, is the true pioneer here  because, out of the blue, he decided to adopt the TESP program.  I decided after he did it!   And I have always been following in Daveís footsteps...  But itís because of his pioneering work why probationers were successful and still are successful.  All of you folks create the circumstances for this award [TESP Award]. 
 

I always tell people I just do what I do.  We  judges donít exist to send people to incarceration.  Thatís the last resort in the minds of all the judges.  The primary goal of judges in dealing with people who come before us charged with crimes, guilty, or found guilty, is to try and work out something  within parameters of the law that works for them as individuals, and works for society as well. 

 

Heretofore, there hasnít been anything that has been truly effective in my view, and Judge Masonís view, Judge Russellís view, for offenders who go on probation.  You know probation officers around the country have had various programs to deal with all the external changes.  The experiences that I have had with recidivism from my probationers, when I was in a position to send people to the TESP program, were the same as Judge Heagneyís and Judge Masonís.  My success rate with TSM probationers was far greater than the success rate of those probationers who do what I call the ďregularĒ program.  Because the approach with the TSM program to the problem is different and it is holistic Ė something I said three to four years ago; that the key to the treatment of offenders is to have a holistic approach. 


I think, as a judge, I have to use every tool that is available for rehabilitating offenders.  Thanks to Judge Mason, TSM was available for me through The Enlightened Sentencing Project and it is effective.

 

Each of you tonight is the testimony as to how effective that program is. And each of you tonight will continue to be a testimony to how successful that program is.  I see it in your eyes as I stand here tonight.  You have the same look in your eyes as every probationer had at the first graduation I attended with my probationers.  It is a look of clarity, it is a look of success and a look of determination and will, to be at peace with yourself and to be at peace with the rest of the world.

 

There is one key though to that success and thatís maintaining your practice.  There are times, as a meditator myself, you can do twenty minutes twice a day.  I can guarantee you that if you routinely do at least twenty minutes once a day you are far ahead of the game and more consistent with your goals and desires and the object of being at peace, focused, determined and at peace with everyone around you that you come in contact with.  And the inner peace that you experience will spread to other people -  people who might normally feel threatened by you just because you are who you are, or you have certain ways, because they are not part of your friends and relatives who ordinarily might have avoided you.
 

They wonít feel that way anymore.  They will want to be around you.  They will want to share your company.  They will want to be with you as a human being.  Thatís the key to success.

 

The first gift that each and every one of us receives as a human being is the gift of life from God and our parents.  The second most important gift that we receive after than is the key to the full functioning of our potential, the ability to receive and share everything that we are entitled to, everything we deserve in life.  Part of that key if not the key that you have received, is the technique of TSM. 


The other gift is the wisdom to use the key.  Each and every one of you, by your graduation and participation in this program, has taken a step for attaining the full wisdom in the use of the key.  Each and every one of you who is graduating  knows exactly what I am talking about because you have seen a dramatic turnabout with your lives as you are today, as opposed to what your lives were when you first walked through the door of The Enlightened Sentencing Project.  Not Judge Masonís door or Judge Heagneyís door or my door but that TESP door.  When you  came through our doors that was a whole other game.    You are still part of that other thing.  Okay.  Walking though the door of the TESP and going out that door tonight, puts you in a completely different ball game.  Itís called success.

 

Having said that, I thank everyone with TESP for allowing me to be a part of it.  I thank you for giving me this award, which I am not sure I really deserve, but I am going to take it. 

 

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Hon. Judge Philip D. Heagney, Circuit Judge
22nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri

 

Address by Hon. Judge Phillip Heagney

Greetings to everybody.  I am very happy  particularly to see these first couple of rows of folks [rows of graduates of the TESP].  There is a lot of light shining up here and I prefer the light to be shining on you and it is shining on you!  You get the spotlight that your achievement deserves.  You are the ones who have done this.  You have succeeded for yourselves, for your families and for this whole community that we are part of.  I just want to say this: that people who have spoken tonight have told us all the reasons why your achievement is so important.  I want to focus for just a minute on one of the reasons:  everyone of us in this room has our shortcomings.  We have our problems.  We know that there are things that we need to deal with.  Thatís one of the issues that comes up again and again in the criminal justice system.

 

Every Friday I am in my court room and I have a probation revocation docket.  Every Friday I have a group of, almost always, men, and occasionally, a woman, standing in front of me and we are examining this question:  ďCan people change themselves or is it our problems and our shortcomings that define us?Ē  And at the probation revocation docket what I am hearing usually from at least some body is:  ďJudge, face it - this person is not going to change.  This person, he or she, is on the road to a penitentiary and when you give probation and then you give another chance at probation and yet another chance at probation all we are doing is delaying the inevitable.  Let the person go to the penitentiary and start doing time.Ē

 

And sometimes thatís what ends up happening.  But I donít believe that as human beings we are incapable of change.  I donít believe that we get put on one road and thatís the road we have to stick to.   But I do believe that we all have problems and we need tools to tackle those problems, deal with them and figure out how to get ourselves on a different road.  Thatís what you all have done and this Friday when I am sitting in that court room I am going be able to look at those folks and say: ďYou know what, I know a whole group of people who turned things around, who are on a different road, they are doing it, and I know you can do it.  Get down to The Enlightened Sentencing Project and start meditating!Ē

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Hon. Judge Thomas Russell
Jersey County Courthouse, Jerseyville, IL 

 

Hon. Judge Thomas G. Russell

I bring you greetings and congratulations from the Circuit Court of Jersey County, Illinois. Itís across the river about an hourís drive from hereÖ  I am a person who has been long convinced that consciousness transformation is the key to creating a more peaceful planet. Through meditation practice you have joined an unique and small cadre of people in the world contributing to the evolution of our planet. You are making it a safer and more peaceful place for everybody.  As Judge Autrey has said so eloquently, you have been given an awesome gift.  Your lives will never be the same again.  Now there will be no limits to the amount of good that will be flowing into your life and no limits to the amount of good that you can do that will flow out from your life to your families and to your community.

 

This gift of transcendental meditation is really more precious than any amount of money. The whole universe is created by consciousness.   It is that grounded consciousness from which everything else appears, visible and invisible.  Itís a tremendous power that you have.  And itís gift that you need to use wisely and cherish it for the rest of your lives.

 

I am pleased to announce tonight that after two years of working with Farrokh and Ruffina that we are going to begin The Enlightened Sentencing Project program in our county in Illinois.  It will be the first of its kind. 

 

I have our chief probation officer Richard Perdun here with me standing at the back.  He is here to observe how things are being done in Missouri.   Our Field Coordinator from the Administrative Office in Illinois Courts was intending to come with us this evening from Springfield but he couldnít make it.  He sends his regrets and he is really quite interested in seeing how we do in Jersey County.  If the precedence you have set is anything like what we can expect, then we know it will be a success from the ďget goĒ and thank you all for blazing the trail for us as it gives me a great deal of confidence in knowing that we will make this a success in Jersey county.  Again, I offer congratulations to all the graduates and thank you for having me here this evening. 

 

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Dave Jennings, Probation and Parole Officer,
Liaison Officer between TESP and
Probation and Parole Dept, St Louis


 

Dave Jennings
 

"Before Farrokh hands out the certificates I wish to congratulate all the graduates on behalf of the State of Missouri Department of Corrections and Probation and Parole.  The very first time I usually get to see the graduates is at the TESP Orientation meeting.  On that day I see them very, very skeptical with a lot of questions:  ďHow am I going to get through the program?  How am I going to get through the classes?   Is my probation officer going to work with me on this program?Ē  At that time, I try to reassure them, not as much as meditation, but as much as I possibly can.  But itís so nice to actually see after the TESP sessions these graduates today sitting proudly, refreshed and confident in what they have just got accomplished on probation.

I hope that you have much success in your continuing to meditate long after this graduation is over.  I wish you best of luck and success in your life, in your relationships and everything that this program has gotten you to.  This meditation program is that one part of your probation, the one thing, hopefully, that you will continue to enjoy for the rest of your life." 

 

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