Empowered Victims & Moral Perpetrators: A Needs-Based Model of Reconciliation
At a recent workshop at Leiden University on Obstacles and Catalysts for Peaceful Behavior, Nurit Shnabel presented exciting research distinguishing the needs of victims and perpetrators in interpersonal and intergroup conflicts. According to Shnabel and colleagues’ Needs-Based Model of Reconciliation, victims of conflict experience a psychological loss of status and honor, thus undermining their identities as powerful actors. Perpetrators, on the other hand, experience a psychological loss of social acceptance, thus threatening their identities as moral actors. Accordingly, victims and perpetrators are differentially motivated to restore these respective identities, and interactions that do so will increase their willingness to reconcile....
Why go there?
That’s the question that arises most often when I mention my visits with inmates in Wisconsin’s prison system. Why go there? Why would I, who lost a beloved family member to violent crime, want to “go there”—emotionally, let alone physically? Why do I spend three consecutive days of my discretionary time locked in intense conversation with convicted felons, many of whom have committed violent crimes? Why would anyone want to do that?
My own journey to prison began over 25 years ago, when my 88-year-old grandmother and her two elderly friends were kidnapped after attending a charity event in my home town. Their kidnapper drove them to an isolated, wooded location and brutally kick-boxed them to death. Within days, he was captured, and within months, he was tried and convicted.
Evaluation of The Forgiveness Project within prisons
The Forgiveness Project (TFP) is a UK based charity that uses real stories to explore how ideas around forgiveness, reconciliation and conflict resolution can have a positive impact on people’s lives. One aspect of the charity’s work is a programme run within prisons, targeted at the early stages of a sentence.
Unite offering prisoner mediation service at Kirklevington Grange Prison
....Mr James said the focus was always on the long-term goal of reducing reoffending. “We’re also providing a victim-offender mediation service for those Kirklevington prisoners who agree to talk to their victims and where the victim agrees to meet the perpetrator.
“This is one way a prisoner can show they have taken responsibility for their actions. They may want to offer an explanation to the victim. They may want to say sorry and agree a way to make amends.”
Restorative justice behind bars
This summer, Seattle University's Criminal Justice program took students out of the classroom and into prison cells. SU’s criminal justice chair and a sociology professor teamed up to create a new pilot course that provided a unique learning experience for students.
Restorative justice: Using psychology to change the way offenders think
A five-day programme for convicted offenders has been shown to be effective in increasing their levels of concern for their victims and motivation to change. The Supporting Offenders through Restoration Inside (SORI) programme, which has been piloted in seven prisons across the UK, is the subject of a study published in the journal Criminological and Legal Psychology today.
The three different levels of Restorative Justice
From the article in the Sentinel:
Level One is for minor offences or non-criminal incidents like anti-social behaviour, which can be dealt with immediately by the officer at the scene.
All Staffordshire officers are being trained in this area.
Who are you? Karen Lang
"Imagine you are shopping at Garden City - you are trying to find an appropriate jumper for your daughter. It has to have a high neck. Something that will compliment her blonde hair and fair skin. You know she would want to look her best. Finally you find a soft mauve high neck jumper, you know it will look beautiful on her. You clutch your purchase and contain yourself till you reach your car - where you break into sobs. The jumper is for your daughter to wear in the casket - there will be a viewing and the high neck is to cover her wounds. You will never shop at Garden City again without thinking of her. Imagine." - Karen Lang
Chickens and chats form basis of new prison life
from the entry on This is Cornwall:
...."It may sound gimmicky, because this is supposed to be a prison and a place of punishment, but the people I'm charged with looking after are some of the most troubled and troublesome members of society," he said. "Their individual backgrounds are horrendous in terms of not having a father figure, and a lack of education and the opportunities that you and I experienced."
Through treating prisoners with "decency" and giving back a sense of respect, staff are already seeing a drop in incidents of bullying and drug abuse. A large number of prisoners have volunteered to sign up to a scheme to donate a small weekly sum to the Victim Support Service.
Meeting the murderer: Profile of victim-offender dialogue facilitator
from the entry on Grits for Breakfast:
See an interesting article from the Christian Science Monitor about a boat builder from Maine who runs a non-profit facilitating victim-offender dialogue (VOD) between violent criminals and their victims or their families, which is an idea derived from "restorative justice" models.