A scary, but exciting prospect
Recently, I was in the Bahamas to conduct a training seminar on the Sycamore Tree Project® for Prison Fellowship Bahamas. A diverse group of people including prison officers, volunteers, and police officers gathered to learn about this in-prison restorative justice programme. Through the day and half of training two emotions stood out: fear and excitement.
For many, especially the prison officers, the idea of bringing victims into prison to meet face-to-face with prisoners (but not their own offenders) was novel and a bit overwhelming. Although the programme has a positive track record in close to twenty countries, the training participants still had serious concerns about how this would work. For one thing, how do you handle victim anger? Why would victims want to go into prison? Isn’t this just setting up an explosive situation?
Dialogues can offer healing for crime victims
Recovering from a crime can be a deeply personal process for victims, but Maryland's corrections system offers victims who are interested a chance to interact with their attackers.
The state is able to arrange dialogues between victims and the person incarcerated for their crime.
Victims' Commissioner highlights financial costs for families in the aftermath of murder
from the blog entry on Justice:
Families who have lost loved ones under terrible circumstances are facing costs of £37,000 on average as they struggle to pick up the pieces, according to figures released today.
Sycamore Tree: Week 3
A week with huge expectations: we have three visitors coming with us. Ann (not her real name) a young lady, victim of a robbery, whose car was violently attacked while she was in it and whose bags were stolen and Ray and Vi, whose son Christopher was murdered by a gang of violent youths high on alcohol and drugs. Ann and Ray and Vi are effectively surrogate victims for the men - a taster, in a group, of the experience of a victim – offender conference or mediation.
Victim's daughter meets IRA bomber: An interview with Jo Berry
On October 12, 1984 an IRA bomb planted by Patrick Magee demolished Brighton’s Grand Hotel in Brighton killing 5 people including Sir Anthony Berry, MP for Southgate and a member of the Thatcher government. The bomb hit on the last day of the conservative party conference held at the hotel. The IRA bomber Magee was sentenced to 35 years in prison. He was released after 14 years under the negotiated Good Friday agreement.
The following is from an interview Lisa Rea conducted with Jo Berry, daughter of Sir Anthony Berry. She did this interview from her home in Macclesfield UK. Jo Berry chose to meet with Pat Magee in November 2000. Today the two work together on many initiatives including addressing peace conferences, giving workshops in prisons, and speaking at universities.
Q. How did the meeting(s) happen? What was the process? Were you, and Pat, adequately prepared to meet? Walk us through what happened.
Victim impact programming in corrections: A team approach to reducing recidivism
from the note by Verna Wyatt in The Wall:
At first glance, it might seem counter-intuitive for victim advocates to work with inmates. However, the truth is, victim advocates and corrections professionals are not adversaries. We actually share a common goal: “no more victims.” Conducting Victim Impact classes for the incarcerated is a team approach to preventing victimization. There have been several studies looking at the effectiveness of victim impact programs across the country. A Iowa Department of Correction report, using two evidence-based studies, concluded victim impact is a contributing factor in reducing recidivism.
[You Have the Power (YHTP)] developed our own Victim Impact Curriculum based on our experience as victim advocates. We’ve learned from our class participants that the majority of offenders never think about their victim as a human being. Many never even think about their victim at all. One of our offender participants told us, “I’ve been incarcerated for over twenty years, and I never once thought about my victim until this class.”
Forgiveness and reconciliation is topic of PBS documentary of U.N. humanitarian
“When you don’t forgive others, you keep building a hell inside yourself.”
Rose Mapendo remembers the horrors she endured in her native Congo — beatings, rapes, tortures, being forced to watch the execution of her husband. And giving birth to their twins inside a death camp cell, cutting the umbilical cords with a stick. Yet she is a forceful advocate of forgiveness and reconciliation.
....The documentary’s title refers to a quote from Mapendo: “One person alone cannot push an elephant, but many people together can.”
There Be Dragons: A film that shows that forgiveness can change the future
There Be Dragons is a powerful story of war, tragedy, love, forgiveness, and redemption. Set during the often overlooked horrors of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, it tells the story of two boyhood friends who enter the seminary, but when the war interrupts their lives, one leaves the seminary and chooses the life of a soldier though driven by jealousy and revenge. The other remains in the seminary and becomes a priest just when the provisional government of Spain is on the brink of murdering over 6,000 priests and religious. Each will struggle to find the power of forgiveness over the forces that tear their lives --and their friendship --apart.
"Forgive us our trespasses": The complexity of forgiveness
Forgiveness is such an obvious part of religious commitments and human sensibility that the conversation around giving and getting forgiveness is often mechanistic, sentimental or superficial. Fortunately, veteran filmmaker Helen Whitney is offering a rare chance to shine a clear light on the question of forgiveness in all its complexities, horror and hope in her two part series entitled: Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate to be shown on April 17th and 24th on PBS stations around the country.
....Whitney's film takes the viewer on a slow roller coaster of emotions. Instead of finding hundreds of talking heads and moving speedily from idea to idea, the documentary lingers on a relatively few cases; letting the viewer sift through the layers of complexity and raw drama. The shooting of the Amish School children, a victim of a brutal attack with an axe, the murder of a police officer by a 1960's revolutionary, a woman knowingly infected with AIDS -- different life situations that challenge the breezy rhetoric of 'forgive and forget' and move deeper into genuine wrestling with the emotional and spiritual demands inherent in forgiveness.
Could you forgive this? Liz Securro's road to forgiveness
from the article by Heide Banks:
Liz Securro knows ﬁrst-hand the consequences of self-judgment and the rewards of self-forgiveness. In her recent book, "Crash Into Me: A Survivor's Search for Justice," Liz shares her story that spanned 20-plus years and stemmed from a rape she endured in college. You do not have to relate to the magnitude of her circumstances to be able to learn from her journey of self-forgiveness.
....It wasn't until she started dealing with the much deeper issues that she was able to regain herself. At some point it stopped for her. She took the clothes she had, and she burned them in a cemetery. She was tired of being the victim. What she realized was that although something was done to her, what she did to herself was far worse. She was judging herself for her behaviors. Her life really took hold when she was able to forgive herself for all those things that she did, which none of us would have ever judged her for.