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Local Community Innovations: Transformation House

This private, non-profit organization in Kentucky serves homicide survivors and convicted murderers. When both parties desire it, Transformation House brings together death row inmates with the survivors of their victim. Meet the committed woman who started this innovative program.
Transformation House is a local community initiative in restorative justice.  The private, non-profit community mediation organization in Lexington, Kentucky, was founded in 1995 out of the vision of Linda Harvey who is the full-time volunteer Executive Director.  She has been a social worker, mediator and volunteer community organizer for close to 40 years. 

 
As a Christian and active member of the Catholic Church, Harvey believes that peace and reconciliation can be sacred endeavors. She also has been involved in Reconciliation Networks of the World that will host its fourth international conference in Atlanta, GA in 2003. Her specific vision for promoting reconciliation is to bring death row inmates together with surviving victims of their crimes.

Transformation House is an all-volunteer organization, except for a paid Program Coordinator, Rochelle Arms. The volunteer team provides assistance to victim survivors who are struggling with the emotional devastation of homicide crime. Acknowledging that closure is never fully possible for families of victims, Transformation House offers victim survivors healing through a 10 hour seminar that includes such topics as the Philosophy of Restorative Justice and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

For those who are willing, another service paves the way for face-to-face mediation with the offender and victim survivor of the specific homicide crime. By providing the safe and structured environment for meetings, Transformation House’s mediators create an open space for victims that allows for the possibilities of healing and forgiveness.  Not all victims desire to work through a reconciliation process, but for those who do, Transformation House’s staff facilitates the lengthy process (sometimes taking more than a year) of preparing both parties for the meeting.

For inmates, Transformation House provides seminars that educate about the impact of crimes on surviving family members and the community by teaching them the restorative justice philosophy. The seminar provides inmates the opportunity to open up about their crimes, sometimes for the first time. It gives them a chance to face and take responsibility for what they have done and experience healing from the compassion of the volunteer multi-discipline team. During this ten hour seminar, live victim survivors who are forgiving people tell their story to the inmates.

Harvey is presently co-chairing the Kentucky Restorative Justice Coalition with Rev. Mike Gibbons who is a pastor and chairs the Kentucky United Methodist Restorative Justice Task Force.  This newly formed coalition hopes to bring change and alternatives to the criminal justice system. Harvey’s goal is to reach all 8 state-controlled medium security prisons and one maximum-security prison in Kentucky with the Transformation House program. Through facilitating understanding between offenders and victims, she hopes to bring healing to local communities across Kentucky where hope is now seen as destroyed.

September 2001

Stories about Transformation House:

A chance to find peace: Lexington-based group brings inmates, their victims together for mutual healing

Criminals meet with victims, learn impact of crimes

 

Contact Transformation House

121 Walton Avenue Lexington, KY 40508 Tel: 859-231-1282   Fax: 859-255-8143   e-mail: lharvey@igc.org     

 September 2001

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