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Prison-Community Relations

Articles about community involvement in prisons and efforts by prisons to engage with their communities.

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.
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)
Inmates pack more than 15,000 meals for hungry kids
from the article on the StarTribune: When sign-up sheets went up recently at Stillwater prison for inmates to pack meals for hungry kids, the 50 volunteer slots were filled within five minutes. So officials increased the number of inmate volunteers allowed. On Saturday, 131 of them assembled meal packets for an event led by the prison’s Restorative Justice Offender Council and Trinity Lutheran Church in Bayport.
Eva-Lynne Carlson on Restorative justice for people who are innocent & wrongfully imprisoned
Lisa Rea, I could not agree with you more. In fact, I will admit that my reaction to the use of restorative justice in this [...]
Restorative justice for veterans: The San Francisco Sheriff 's Department's Community of Veterans Engaged in Restoration (COVER)
from the article by Sunny Schwartz and Leslie Levitas: ....Veterans represent a rapidly growing segment of the jail population whose characteristics mirror those of the general jail population and include histories of substance abuse, inconsistent work histories and challenges related to maintaining family relationships. Like most prisoners, they receive few services while incarcerated to address the myriad of health, mental health, and psychosocial issues that contribute to their incarceration and pose challenges upon release. The military discharge status of most justice-involved vets—less than honorable—makes them ineligible for many of the benefits and services offered by the Veterans Administration (VA).
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.
Restorative practices in Hungary: An ex-prisoner is reintegrated into the community
from the article by Vidia Negrea: As the representative of Community Service Foundation of Hungary, the Hungarian affiliate of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), I participated in a group session of the Hungarian Crime Prevention and Prison Mission Foundation in summer 2009 (Sycamore Tree Project — www.pfi.org/cjr/stp/introduction — or Zacchaeus Program in Hungary). There I met the governor of Balassagyarmat prison, where inmates were working in groups on issues related to their crimes and exploring ways to repair relationships they had damaged. Some inmates began accepting responsibility for what they had done and were motivated to make things right and earn forgiveness of victims and their families. Prisoners made symbolic reparation in the form of community service within the prison, but there was still a lot to do to create opportunities for offenders to make contact with victims and shed the stigma of their offense by means of direct reparation. Also, prison management believed it important to support processes, acceptable to victimized families and communities, to help prisoners regain control of their lives and prevent reoffending.
Missouri prisons grow 50 tons of food for pantries
from the article on stltoday.com: Missouri prisoners have raised more than 50 tons of vegetables and fruit that have been given to food pantries around the state. The Department of Corrections says this year's harvest was significantly higher than last year's, when the agency donated 29 tons of produce through its Restorative Justice Garden Program. Under the program, the seeds and plants are donated to the Corrections Department, which then donates all the resulting food to local pantries.
Restorative Justice
As someone who has spent a great deal of my life behind bars I think it's about time something is done to address the need [...]
Prison Reform and RJ
Excellent paper, Mr. Steele. The culture of prisons is highly institutionalized with high staff turn-over. Impacting that culture is going to be extremely difficult without [...]
restorative justice works
Thank you for posting this. Brian Steels makes a good case here. Prison models that embrace restorative justice work. These models embrace offender accountability and [...]
Restorative justice and the challenge of prison reform
from Brian Steels' recent paper: Crucially, prisoners have to learn to accept responsibility for the harm their criminal activities have caused to individual victims, family and neighbourhood. This largely transformative component is implemented at the beginning of any given prison sentence and is maintained throughout the term of custody. ....Wherever practical and possible, prisoners are made responsible for any financial compensation owed to victims. To this end, a restoration fund may be established and prisoners able to earn money in order to pay victim compensation. This encourages a degree of responsibility in prisoners whilst providing reparation for victims.
restorative justice & wrongful convictions
This is a very interesting take on this problem. I have written a number of blog posts here at rjonline.org on the subject of wrongful [...]
Restorative justice for people who are innocent & wrongfully imprisoned
from Lorenn Walker's blog: Recently, I saw how successfully RJ was used by someone who has steadfastly maintained innocence, and who does not take responsibility for the crimes she is in prison for. The woman is serving several life sentences for crimes that she has denied since being convicted after a trial about 20 years ago. She was 18 when she went into prison and she has not seen two of her now adult children since then. Most of her children want a relationship with her and she wants one with them. The woman learned about restorative justice in a course we provide* in the prison, and she used an RJ process to focus how she could restore her relationship with her children, and address the harm caused them and herself, by her teenage drug use and her imprisonment.
Victim assistance
Lisa, The best link for APAC is www.pfi.org/cjr/apac. Of course, if you read portuguese you can visit http://www.fbac.com.br/. Don't underestimate the amount of victim involvement [...]
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 [...]
APAC link
Hi, Lorenn, I'm sorry that link didn't work. Try this one http://www.pfi.org/cjr/newsitems/transforminglives Lynette
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 [...]
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
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 [...]

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