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Prison-Community Relations

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

Dinsdale, Jennifer. Restorative Justice in HM Prison Holme House: A Research Paper
The International Centre for Prison Studies initiated the Restorative Prison Project to examine the conceptual framework for imprisonment and to work with the Prison Service in Great Britain to apply restorative principles in the prison setting. One site for this work is HM Prison Holme House in northeast England. In 2001 Jennifer Dinsdale, a graduate student unaffiliated with the Restorative Prison Project, conducted research into the feasibility of restorative schemes in Holme House. She looked particularly at prisoners’ perceptions of the impact of their crimes on their victims, the openness of prisoners to engaging in reparative activities, and prisoners’ perspectives on their relationship to the community outside the prison. This paper reports her research findings.
. 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)
Rockett, Frank. Prisoner Rehabilitation:The Role of the Custodial Institution
Over the past decade the Queensland Department of Corrective Services has successfully become a leader in the provision of safe and secure containment through the implementation of new infrastructure and cutting edge technologies. Building on this strong foundation we are now focused on providing better access to meaningful rehabilitation opportunities for all offenders... Despite a perception that community attitudes are becoming more punitive it can be stated that there remains strong community expectations that corrective services should be about rehabilitation as well as punishment. (excerpt)
Vazulla, Juan Carlos. The participation of the community representative in mediation involving youth perpetrators
In Brazil, the juvenile justice system includes victim-offender mediation. Now they have added a third mediator into those meetings: one that represents the community that was transgressed against.
. Implementing and evaluating restorative justice projects in prison.
This article describes a restorative justice project run in three Canadian prisons. The project, Partners in Healing, aimed to promote restorative justice by running restorative justice committees inside and recruiting volunteers from the community to participate along with prisoners. The main goals of the project were to increase participants’ awareness of restorative justice and help prisoners gain an understanding of the effects of their crime(s). An evaluation of the project solicited stories about the restorative justice committees and this article reports on some of the evaluation findings. The qualitative data offer insights into how to best design a restorative justice project in prisons. It also reveals dilemmas associated with evaluating such projects. The article concludes that projects need to be guided by a clear conceptualization of restorative justice. (author's abstract)
Making Victims' Voices Heard
Victims’ Voices Heard (VVH) provides victims and victim survivors of severe violence the opportunity to meet with their offenders in a facilitated encounter. Located in Delaware, it is based on a model first developed in Texas. Kim Book, programme coordinator for VVH, describes her experience with the criminal justice system and shares a victim perspective on the mediation process.

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