Tending deep wounds
In October, Prison Fellowship South Africa held its last scheduled Sycamore Tree Project® (STP) course for 2013 in Pretoria Women’s Correctional Centre. The 18 prisoners and six victims addressed many issues related to crime and the harm that it causes. For one, the programme offered an opportunity to address the deep wounds of racism and violence from her country’s past.
From death row to restorative justice
from the article by Marina Cantacuzino:
Restorative justice is a system that fundamentally views crime as injury rather than wrong-doing, and justice as healing rather than punishment. Whilst visiting New York, Minneapolis, Hawaii and Texas (thanks to receiving a Winston Churchill travelling fellowship) I've uncovered some remarkable US-based programs that bear this out. But as founding director of The Forgiveness Project, a UK-based charity that delivers a restorative justice programme in prisons, I'm also surprised by how often the death penalty is central to the conversation.
Inmates pack more than 15,000 meals for hungry kids
from the article on the StarTribune:
When sign-up sheets went up recently at Stillwater prison for inmates to pack meals for hungry kids, the 50 volunteer slots were filled within five minutes. So officials increased the number of inmate volunteers allowed.
On Saturday, 131 of them assembled meal packets for an event led by the prison’s Restorative Justice Offender Council and Trinity Lutheran Church in Bayport.
Huge drop in restraint attributed to restorative justice
from the article by Neil Puffett in Children & Young People Now:
A secure children’s home in Devon has been recognised for its successful use of restorative justice after restraint incidents fell by nearly 90 per cent.
Crime victims find healing through restorative justice
From the article by Jasmin Lopez on KALW :
Dionne Wilson's husband, a San Leandro police officer, was killed in the line of duty seven years ago, but she says it took her a long time to find a way to really heal.
“For many years, I carried around so much vengeance and hate. I realized at a certain point I had nothing left. I had no more tools. I engaged in a lot of self-destructive behavior. I tried to buy my way out of my grief; I tried to drink my way out for a short period. Thankfully, I didn’t take that too far. And I just didn’t have a way to move past being embroiled in the moment,” says Wilson.
How Scandinavian prisons model a redemptive sense of punishment
from the article by Jonathan Kana on Think Christian:
Imagine a prison where housing facilities resemble weather-worn college dorms instead of cell blocks and where inmates are permitted to come and go for civilian work assignments or family visits under a strict curfew policy. Imagine a corrections model that prohibits officers from carrying weapons, but instead assigns them a central role in offender rehabilitation. Imagine a justice system whose policies are rarely subject to political whims, leaving expert criminologists to make decisions instead.
Collapsing barriers between victims and offenders
In mid-July, Prison Fellowship Italy completed the first Sycamore Tree Project® (STP) course in Modena Prison. Nine prisoners and five crime survivors came together to share their stories and develop a mutual respect for each other.
In a press conference held at the end of the course, the prison director, Rosa Alba Casella, described her initial scepticism about allowing the programme in the facility. However, the experiences of the nine participating prisoners and the intense interest from the rest of the inmate population convinced her of the usefulness of STP.
Program enables Pa. inmate to apologize to victims
from article on MySA:
A program that enables Pennsylvania inmates to apologize in writing to victims of their crimes has more letters than people signed up to receive them.
State officials hope to change that by publicizing the Inmate Apology Bank, an initiative of the Department of Corrections and the Office of Victim Advocate.
"It really benefits both victims and offenders," said Carol Lavery, who has headed the state victim advocacy office for seven years. "Without this program, there is no way an apology could be made. It is a violation for an offender to send an apology letter directly to a victim. That is not allowed, even when one is wanted."
Cumbria prison governor's bid to cut the rate of reoffending
from the article on in-Cumbria:
Restorative justice is being rolled out at Cumbria’s only prison in a bid to cut reoffending rates.
The system, which sees criminals facing up to the consequences of their crimes, is the pet project of prison governor Tony Corcoran – who joined HMP Haverigg in January and is an expert in the field.
Restorative justice behind prison walls
from the article by Pierre R. Berastain from Huff Post Crime:
On June 22 and 23, I made a promise to individuals typically considered convicted murderers, thieves, and drug dealers, most of whom are serving at least one life sentence for their crimes. I have sat on my thoughts and words for a few hours now because, in all sincerity, whatever I see on my screen seems lifeless, devoid of everything I experienced in the company of these men. Yet, I made a promise to tell the story of those two days.
With the help of my friend and colleague Professor Karen Lischinski, the men from the Restorative Justice Group at MCI-Norfolk Prison worked for many months to host a two-day restorative justice retreat behind prison walls. Let me repeat: The men serving time at Norfolk Prison helped put together a retreat meant to inspire inmates to rehabilitate, mend the harms they have caused, and make promises to the community in and outside the prison walls that they will live more honest and honorable lives. The experience felt transformative.