These classes meet for two hours once a week for sixteen weeks. Each program has a maximum of 17 participants and concludes with a graduation with inmates, family members, and community guests. The program helps participants begin to think critically about their values, identity, and the impact of early childhood trauma and connect the dots between what happened to them and their subsequent criminal behavior.
Participants learn about emotional intelligence, communication skills, stress reduction techniques, gender roles, accountability, apology and forgiveness. The program includes a presentation by victims/survivors that helps participants understand the effects of violence on victims/survivors, families and communities as well as on self. Participants gain powerful new insights into themselves, the impact of violence on victims, offenders, and communities, and their own need for healing.
The criteria for enrollment in the Restorative Justice program are that the inmate is serving a life or long-term sentence; has a willingness to share in a group setting; and has an interest in doing reflective work about their crime and life history. We give priority to youth and young adult offenders (under age 26 at the time of the crime).
We do not require that inmates have participated in previous group programs. In fact, we welcome inmates who have not had the opportunity to enroll in programs because of their security status or program availability.
Week 1: Introduction to Restorative Justice: Our Beliefs & Values
Week 2: The Ripple Effect: How My Actions Affect Me & Others
Week 3: Naming & Understanding Feelings & Needs
Week 4: Stress & Coping Mechanisms
Week 5: Healthy Communication Skills
Week 6: The Impact of Trauma – Part one: Childhood Trauma, Resilience & Timeline
Week 7: The Impact of Trauma – Part two: Connecting the Dots
Week 8: Man in a Box: Gender Roles, Relationships & Violence
Week 9: Victims/Survivors Presentation — The Impact of Violence on Victims/Survivors, Families, Communities & Self
Week 10: Debrief of Survivor Panel
Week 11: Accountability, Responsibility & Apology
Week 12: Healthy & Unhealthy Guilt & Accountability
Week 13: Self-Forgiveness & Self-Compassion
Week 14: Mock Parole Hearing
Week 15: Appreciations
Week 16: Closing and Next Steps