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Making Amends in Prison

Repairing harm means making amends. This can be done in many ways, ranging from an apology to a financial settlement. Articles on the variety of ways prisoners can make amends to their victims and to the community while they are in prison.

A second chance at Curt's Cafe
from the article by Susan Du in The Daily Northwestern: Curt’s Cafe, 2922 Central St., is an unlikely crossroads for the two: Trieschmann hires at-risk young adults, particularly those with criminal records, providing them with hard-to-find job training and work experience. The non-profit restaurant is one of the only adult ex-offender re-entry programs in a city that focuses most of its re-entry resources on at-risk youths. Trieschmann said the road to opening the experimental business was far from smooth, with some neighbors concerned about the business drawing former criminals to Central Street. Still, it’s an experiment that restorative justice advocates and even Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said is worth a shot.
Workman, Kim. The Future of Restorative Justice – Control, Co-option, and Co-operation
This paper explores the history of restorative justice in New Zealand and lays out a course for the future.
Chickens and chats form basis of new prison life
from the entry on This is Corwall: ...."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.
Dubberley, Sarah and Baker, Sally-Ann. Mending fences: reparation and the reorientation of young people in the secure estate.
The paper is informed by the findings of mixed method study of the Duke of Edinburgh intervention at selected secure estate establishments in England and Wales, drawing on the findings of an Attitude to Offending instrument (CRIME-PICS11) and accounts of young people and secure estate staff. Young people’s CRME-PICS responses are examined through qualitative data from focus groups with young people and interviews with staff delivering the intervention. The findings highlight the importance study participants placed on development of interpersonal relationships between young people, and between them and others within and outwith the secure estate. The authors suggest that, notwithstanding constraints on delivering interventions in the secure estate, reparation activities can be achieved with incarcerated young people, which may assist young offenders’ short-term strategies in managing day to day incarceration and long-term strategies of re-integration, acceptance by the community, and improved life opportunities in the future. The authors argue that while reparation activities, which do not involve face to face contact with victims, are often presented as a poor relative of restorative justice ‘proper’, they are not only more realisable in custody, but offer potential to facilitate development of fundamental social interpersonal skills which underpin young people’s rehabilitation. (author's abstract)
Inside Chowchilla Women's Prison: Locked up, reaching out
Littlehey inmates refurbish bicycles in 'payback' scheme
from the article on BBC News Cambridgeshire: Inmates from HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire have been refurbishing run-down bicycles recovered by police, before they are donated to charities. Chief Constable Simon Parr said the scheme was part of a "restorative justice agenda" enabling prisoners to provide a community service.
Increasing restitution for crime victims: A toolkit
from the entry by Jeanette Moll on Right on Crime: The National Center for Victims of Crime recently released a “Restitution Toolkit,” which provides state agencies and external organizations information on instituting or furthering restitution opportunities for crime victims. The information is in-depth and comprehensive, including:
What were they thinking? Horse farms and inmates?
from the blog entry by Peter Hermann on It was one of those feel-good programs that come across reporters' desks nearly every day. This was from the state prison system: "Restorative Justice Benefits Women Inmates and Starving Horses." Here's what the news release said: The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services today added yet another to its growing list of unique restorative justice inmate initiatives, putting a work crew comprised of female inmates at Howard County’s Days End Farm Horse Rescue. The inmates, from the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCI-W) in Jessup, will begin with grounds maintenance and landscaping, and eventually move into equine care. “What we try to do with these restorative justice programs is not only give inmates skills and the chance to pay back the society they’ve harmed, but meaningful projects that really do make a difference in the lives of people -- and in this case, horses,” said DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynard. Only state prison officials forgot to tell the neighbors of the horse farm, as well as the young volunteers who work there. Now, state officials have shut down the program, according to a story by The Baltimore Sun's Larry Carson.
‘Puppies for Parole’ making a difference
from Mark Morris' article in the Kansas City Star: Puppies for Parole, as the Missouri Department of Corrections calls the program, is at work in eight state prisons, where offenders have the time and patience to give dogs from shelters basic obedience training.
Prisons - rehabilitation - justice
Lynn is both articulate and accurate and I have nothing to add to her comments - I have the honor of knowing the PFI programs [...]
Young in prison
Gary, thanks for your kind words about the article and the work of PFI. I agree with your statements on the need to remember that [...]
restorative Justice
A clear reasoned statement. It may be time to spell out the principles and to tell the stories of the various forms of restorative approaches [...]
Principles and stories
Billy, thanks for your comments. I think you are right and there is a need to explain how approaching crime and wrong doing from a [...]
Thank you for this Lynn. It is a sad commentary to assume there is no hope for people, especially youth. And thank you for writing [...]
APAC's sucess
Lorenn, Thanks for the comment. You are right about APAC's successes in helping the recuperandos change their lives and reintegrate into society. It's amazing just [...]
Thanks for this further information Lynn--it was amazing experiencing the APAC prisons...they are more like clean and sober group homes and communities than prisons. The [...]
APAC link
Hi, Lorenn, I'm sorry that link didn't work. Try this one Lynette
APAC prison & victims
Hello, Lynette. Thank you for your post about APAC in Brasil. I was drawn to the work being done in Brasil since I first I [...]
APAC and Victims
Lisa, Thanks for your comments. APAC does not use Sycamore Tree Project. However, it has an office of victim assistance. So, on one hand they [...]
Brasilian prison project & restorative justice
Thank you, Lynette. Is there a direct link to APAC that you can provide? I am glad the project has some kind of victim assistance [...]

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