Restorative justice behind bars
Sep 14, 2012
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.
The “Restorative Justice Behind Bars” 8-week session blended 10 SU students with 16 inmates who are part of the University Beyond Bars program. The format is based on a restorative justice program called encounter, which places a high value on having the victim and offender encounter one another. The focus is on its five interwoven elements: meeting, narrative, emotion, understanding and agreement.
This course is intended to create a safe place for offenders, victims, and citizens to talk about how crime has affected their lives, and what they need to repair the harm resulting from crime. The students spent the summer on teams, creating ideas for concrete ways to implement restorative justice principles within the prison system and throughout the community.