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Healing and "Collateral Damage": Prison is above all about loss

Sep 09, 2011

from the entry on Prison Culture:

About three weeks ago, I was privileged to keep a circle for the family of a young man who is serving a recently-imposed sentence of 7 years in prison. I am friendly with the young man’s sister and she was the one who asked me to organize a healing circle for the family. I was really blessed that a friend of mine who is a wonderful circle keeper partnered with me. The key to keeping a good circle is preparation and it took us almost a month to set this one up. We had to talk to everyone who was going to participate before we could actually keep the circle.

After speaking to everyone involved, it became clear to us that the main emotions that folks wanted to process were grief and anger. I want to talk a bit about both.

....Part of what we discussed towards the end of the circle was how family members might constructively and simply support each other and the incarcerated young man through this ordeal. A decision was made that two people from the circle would arrange to visit him once a month at minimum. We made a plan for this together.

We also strategized about how his younger siblings could talk about their brother’s incarceration. His younger siblings are 9, 12. and 15 years old. Everyone offered their ideas for how they might address their brother’s situation with their peers and others. We practiced talking about what had happened and encouraged them to use their own voices to describe this circumstance.

Read the whole entry.

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Paula says:
Sep 12, 2011 04:41 PM

I have just joined a group precializing in restorative justice and I will be on a course soon to become a volunteer. This is so important and I am glad that people are waking up to the importance of healing people who are victims of crime ---we are all victims when a crime is committed. We need to support eachother and there needs to be preventative measures taken to prevent crime -- not severe mindless punishment techniques that do not work.

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