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Preparation for Release

Articles describing restorative justice programmes whose objective is to prepare prisoners (and sometimes their families, victims and/or communities) for release.

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.
Hook, Melissa And Seymour, Anne. Offender reentry requires attention to victim safety
In this article Hook and Seymour address issues concerning the rights and safety of victims when offenders leave prison and reenter societ
Restorative justice & stories for resilient families and happy individuals
from the entry by Lorenn Walker in Restorative Justice & Other Public Health Approaches for Healing Feiler discusses how one night he pondered: “What is the secret sauce that holds a family together? What are the ingredients that make some families effective, resilient, happy?” and went on to learn what he could to answer these questions. His research led him to the work of psychologists Marshall Duke and Sara Fivush, which showed: “The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.”
Guardian Charity Awards 2013 winner: Yorkshire and Humberside Circles of Support and Accountability
from the article from the Guardian: YHCOSA works to rehabilitate and reintegrate socially isolated sexual offenders, with the aim of making sure they don't reoffend. Trained volunteers form "circles" of four to six members who meet with a "core member" once a week for around a year, discussing their offences, concerns and ideas for the future.
Walker, Lorenn. Modified restorative circles: a reintegration group planning process that promotes desistance .
This article describes the Modified Circle process and its potential for increasing criminal desistance with the aim of influencing corrections programs to use the process. A Modified Restorative Circle is a group process for an incarcerated individual to plan for meeting his or her needs for a successful reintegration back into the community. The process is similar to the Restorative Circle process except no loved ones participate during the Modified Circle, which other incarcerated people attend instead. The process is solution-focused and promotes desistance from crime for both the individual having the Modified Circle and the participating incarcerated people. Qualitative evidence shows the process successfully assists incarcerated people in rescripting their life stories; assists them in developing plans for reconciling with loved ones and the community; and helps them find ways to meet their other needs for a positive life and successful reintegration. (excerpt)
Fox, Kathryn J. . Redeeming communities: Restorative offender reentry in a risk-centric society.
Released prisoners present problems for communities to manage. The Federal Government's prisoner reentry initiative funded States (beginning in 2001 and again in 2008) to develop reentry projects. Vermont utilized its existing municipal community justice apparatus to create reentry programs which involve community members in providing support for returning offenders. Using qualitative data analysis, this paper examines the extent to which the Vermont programs embody Bazemore and Maruna's (2009) concept of “restorative reentry.” Specifically, this paper explores the dual missions of restorative justice and reintegration. In conclusion, the context of a risk-centric society is explored as creating special complications for reintegration processes. (Published Abstract)
Thompson, Mindi N and Cummings, Devon L.. Enhancing the career development of individuals who have criminal records.
Large numbers of individuals are involved in the criminal justice system. Upon release, most have difficulty finding employment and stabilizing economic resources, which contribute to recidivism. To date, the role of work in the lives of ex-offenders has virtually been ignored in the vocational literature. The purpose of this article is to increase awareness of this group by highlighting vocational implications of having a criminal record; reviewing existing interventions demonstrated to be beneficial (e.g., teaching skills prior to release, restorative justice interventions); and providing suggestions to more readily include this group in future practice, research, and policy. (Author's abstract)
Parole Camp
from the entry by Maanda Ntsandeni on Aljazeera: ....My journey to making Parole Camp began four years ago when a friend, Andrew May, invited me to South Africa's Pollsmoor Prison. Andrew, an American studying for his Masters of Law degree, was running a class on the Restorative Justice System for inmates approaching their release. Like many South Africans frustrated by the country's soaring crime rates, I was deeply prejudiced towards anybody who had served time in prison - choosing to focus on my belief that they deserved punishment while overlooking the fact that they had served their dues behind bars.
Parole, release and restorative justice: Minister and National Council for Correctional Services
from the Summary of the Parliamentary Monitoring Group meeting: The meeting provided an opportunity for the Portfolio Committee (PC) to engage with the Minister and the National Council for Correctional Services (NCCS) on matters of parole and release, with particular emphasis on the position of those sentenced to life imprisonment (lifers) and the role of the restorative justice processes.
The RJ on-line project, "Safe Ground" won; comments about mediating on-line please
As the main presenter of the "Safe Ground" project that was awarded first prize by the panel (youth justice board, prison reform trust, police improvement [...]
on-line RJ mediation
Virtual reality (and relating on-line is a virtual presence) is becoming more real that virtual--that is we are spending more time on-line than face to [...]
Very important issue
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 [...]
How this program helps me to heal.
  I have been part of a victims panel for quite some time now in this program. I can't tell you how impressed I am with [...]
Jailbrake weekend
from their website: Jailbrake is a competition to find and support great ideas that could break the cycle of youth offending using simple web and mobile tools. Whether that’s about helping more young people access services and support, or giving them a way of staying safe. We’re looking for people who have an idea about how to slow down and stop the cycle of youth offending – whether you’re part of a youth offending team, a service user, police officer or a member of a local community – with people who can make their ideas idea a reality. ....From January to March 2010, we ran a call for ideas to find great new ideas to slow down and stop the cycle of youth offending using simple web and mobile tools. A grand total of 50 very early stage ideas were submitted to Jailbrake and we chose just six that we saw the greatest potential to build at the Jailbrake weekend, 26th-28th March 2010. So here are our six ideas:
Huikahi Restorative Circles: A public health approach for reentry planning
from the article by Lorenn Walker and Rebecca Greening in Federal Probation: ....The Huikahi Restorative Circle is a group process for reentry planning that involves the incarcerated individual, his or her family and friends, and at least one prison representative. The process was developed in 2005 in collaboration with two community-based organizations—the Hawai’i Friends of Civic &Law Related Education and the Community Alliance on Prisons—and the Waiawa Correctional Facility located on the island of O’ahu.
Healing and "Collateral Damage": Prison is above all about loss
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.
An Outcome Evaluation of Minnesota Circles of Support and Accountability (MnCoSA)
from the study by the Minnesota Department of Corrections: ....The use of the COSA model with high-risk sex offenders began in a small Mennonite community in Canada in the early 1990s. Grounded in the tenets of the restorative justice philosophy, the COSA model attempts to help sex offenders successfully reenter the community and, thus, increase public safety, by providing them with social support as they try to meet their employment, housing, treatment, and other social needs. Each COSA consists of anywhere between four and six community volunteers, one of whom is a primary volunteer, who meet with the offender on a regular basis. The results from several evaluations of the Canadian COSA model suggest it significantly reduces sex offender recidivism....
. Does restorative justice work? An evaluation of the restorative justice programmes of Phoenix Zululand
This chapter provides a case study of a bottom-up restorative justice intervention aimed at encouraging prisoners to take responsibility for their behaviour and at transforming relationships between prisoners and their families. From focus groups and interviews with ex-prisoners and their families, the study found that forgiveness and reconciliation was frequently achieved, a finding which has important implications for the extremely high levels of recidivism in South Africa. (Author's abstract)
Does restorative justice work? An evaluation of the restorative justice programmes of Phoenix Zululand
This chapter provides a case study of a bottom-up restorative justice intervention aimed at encouraging prisoners to take responsibility for their behaviour and at transforming relationships between prisoners and their families. From focus groups and interviews with ex-prisoners and their families, the study found that forgiveness and reconciliation was frequently achieved, a finding which has important implications for the extremely high levels of recidivism in South Africa. (Author's Abstract)
Does restorative justice work? An evaluation of the restorative justice programmes of Phoenix Zululand
from the chapter by Geoff Harris: This chapter provides a case study of a bottom-up restorative justice intervention aimed at encouraging prisoners to take responsibility for their behaviour and at transforming relationships between prisoners and their families. From focus groups and interviews with ex-prisoners and their families, the study found that forgiveness and reconciliation was frequently achieved, a finding which has important implications for the extremely high levels of recidivism in South Africa.

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