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Conflict Resolution

Articles about teaching conflict resolution skills to prisoners and on the use of restorative justice process to resolve conflict inside prisons.

Roeger, Debbie. Resolving Conflicts in Prison
In this article Debbie Roeger reports on Opening Doors of Ohio, Inc., of which she is the founder and executive director. Opening Doors is a not-for-profit organization designed to support conflict resolution in Ohio prisons. The impetus for founding Opening Doors came from a decision by the management of Marion Correctional Institution to change the cultural view of how conflict had been historically addressed and resolved in the prison. It involves skill-building programming for prisoners and staff to learn new conflict resolution skills, as well as alternative processes (including the option of mediation) to resolve actual conflicts in prison.
Nair, Roshila and Flanders-Thomas, Joanna and Giffard, Chris. Advancing a Human Rights Culture in our Prisons: The usefulness of a conflict resolution approach
In 1998, the Centre for Conflict Resolution was invited by Pollsmoor Prison to run conflict resolution workshops for staff members working with juveniles in the Admission Centre. Pollsmoor Prison is the largest maximum security prison in the Western Cape of South Africa. The staff of the prison had identified conflict resolution as an important part of transformation in the prison, especially to reduce violence and to build better relationships among prisoners, staff, and management. The authors of this article report on the Prisons Transformation Project of the Centre for Conflict Resolution, a project influenced by the initial work with Pollsmoor Prison and by the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report.
. Restorative justice skills building for incarcerated people.
Restorative justice uses behavioral, cognitive, and emotional skills that help people communicate about and cope with difficulties easier. Skills include listening, using precise language to concretely describe experiences and goals, and understanding how emotions and thinking affect situations. These skills are normally taught to restorative justice facilitators but can also be taught to incarcerated people for their own benefit. Called Restorative Justice as a Solution-Focused Approach to Conflict and Wrongdoing the training program described here is provided over 12 weeks. (editor's description)
. Prisoner facilitated mediation: Bringing peace to prisons and communities.
Part II of this Article briefly describes the United States prison system and how it fails to rehabilitate prisoners, resulting in disastrous consequences for both inmates and society as a whole. Part III describes prisoner facilitated mediation(PFM) and its benefits for inmates and communities. Part IV provides an in depth discussion of Prison of Peace, a successful prisoner facilitated mediation program. Part V offers suggestions on how PFM programs could be implemented more widely. Finally, Part VI provides a brief conclusion. (excerpt)
Gale, Kathleen. "Restorative Justice: How Alternatives to Violence Project Works"
Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) began in NYS in 1975. It consists of experiential workshops that allow participants to develop community and creative responses to potential violence in their daily lives in prison and after release in NYC through Landing Strip. We summarize three previous evaluations of AVP in the States of Delaware and Maryland showing the community building and restorative effects of the project. This paper advocates evaluation of AVP and Landing Strip in NYS. (author's abstract)
Love, Bill. "Program Curbs Prison Violence Through Conflict Resolution"
But good relations between inmates and staff are important to maintaining safety and order in an institution. The DOC is learning that communication and conflict resolution are effective tools for managing their inmate populations. (excerpt)
Walrath, Christine. "Evaluation of an Inmate-Run Alternatives to Violence Project: The Impact of Inmate-to-Inmate Intervention"
The Alternative to Violence Project (AVP), a nonviolence training program run for inmates by inmates, represents at attempt to combat institutional violence. The program provides alternatives to violent behavior; it decreases the rate of violence among and within the prison population and may translate back to the community on release. An impact evaluation of on AVP was conducted in a medium-security corrections facility in Maryland. Despite limitations, the results from this evaluation demonstrate a positive impact on anger and self-reported confrontation for inmates who completed a basic level conflict resolution as compared to those who did not. The power of the institutional environment, the need for continued intervention with offenders, and future directions for correctional-setting based evaluations are discussed.
Newell, Tim. Restorative Practice in Prisons: Circles and Conferencing in the Custodial Setting
Tim Newell, former prison governor in England, states that restorative approaches to crime and conflict resolution represent a cultural challenge to attitudes and assumptions that dominate prison governance and dynamics. Nevertheless, the problem-solving approach of restorative justice has much to offer. Restorative justice can be a culture-changing process for prisons toward becoming more effective in meeting the long-term needs of offenders, victims, and communities, as well as being a more harmonious environment for prisoners, staff, and management. Against this background, Newell discusses organizational and cultural change, paradigms and organizational structures, and the application of restorative ideas in prisons.
Liebmann, Marian. Cultures and conflict
The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) started in the mid 1970s in Greenhaven Prison, New York (USA), when a group of inmates asked local Quakers to help them stem violence in the prison. A workshop was devised to teach conflict resolution to inmates, and this model has been used in many prisons in the United States and other countries. In September 2000, at Wadham College, Oxford, an AVP International Conference was held, with people from many countries participating. In this article, Marian Liebmann reports on the conference. The conference included workshops on many relevant topics - including "Cultures and Conflict" - as well as a visit to Grendon Prison.
Bitel, Mark. The Alternatives to Violence Project -- A path to restoration
The Alternatives to Violence Project grew out of an initiative to reduce violence at a maximum security prison in New York State in 1975. In this paper Bitel explains how this project operates within a restorative justice framework. He sketches the history of the project and how it operates in prisons. He also describes the project’s model of change. Specific aspects of the project’s principles and practices that he discusses include the following: restoration and healing; rebuilding self-worth; creating a supportive community; taking responsibility; and conflict transformation versus conflict suppression.
Windt, Szandra and Barabas, Tunde and Fellegi, Borbala. Resolution of conflicts involving prisoners: Handbook on the applicability of mediation and restorative justice in prisons.
...this Handbook sees to support the preparation and implementation of the prison mediation pilot programme and to facilitate dialogue between stakeholders (offenders and victims, directly and indirectly affected family members, professionals, and members of the immediate and broader community). The Handbook is designed for professionals who think they can help perpetrators of serious crimes, their victims and others affected deal together with the damage caused by a crime, understand and clarify the needs of all affected people, and find ways to repair the damage done by participating as impartial mediators. (excerpt)
Halstead, Sam. Educational Discipline Using the Principles of Restorative Justice
This article shows how restorative justice techniques can be used with students in correctional and alternative education settings.

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