9:05 AM PDT, October 3, 2021
In the fall of 2019, Inside Edition Digital producer Mara Montalbano interviewed Chanda Williams, a teacher with the Prison Yoga Project at California’s San Quentin Prison.
To highlight the program and how beneficial it is to the inmates, Mara visited San Quentin. She was able to get an inside look at the program, get first-hand stories from inmates, and learn how Chanda transformed lives.
“This is a story about crime and punishment, and redemption and forgiveness and rehabilitation and kindness and love all wrapped into one,” Mara said while describing the initiative.
A year later, because of the coronavirus pandemic, Chanda couldn’t see her students, and she told Mara that she was worried about them.
“There’s a possibility in all likelihood that some of the students who I’ve practiced yoga with over these six years may be infected and may actually die as a result of COVID-19,” she explained.
At the time, coronavirus began to explode at San Quentin. There were over 2,000 recorded cases of inmates with COVID-19, and 12 had died.
Mara spoke with Chanda, and they discussed the frustration and helplessness that the pandemic has brought upon her.
What was discovered was highlighted on The Breakdown, where the story behind the story is shared.