Think about a new way of looking at prison rehabilitation – one that focuses on healing. This is called Restorative Justice. Current prison rehabilitation focuses on punishment, race class discrimination, and creating a non-healing environment. Restorative Justice works and focuses on healing the inmates and working on restoring losses by allowing prisoners to take responsibility for their actions and by helping victims move forward in their healing as well.
Restorative Justice uses a different approach in trying to mend relationships through open communication with prisoners, creating dialogue between prisoners and community and helping inmates learn to become involved with community.
Another aspect of Restorative Justice that the Insight Prison Project uses, is to help educate the community that prisoners should be treated humanely and with respect. The advantage of this is that once these prisoners are released, they will be better able to adapt to life outside of prison walls and to interact with the local community in better ways.
We remain dedicated to bridging the gap between punishment and parole through rehabilitation, so prisoners break the cycle of incarceration, stay out of prison, and become productive community members.
To quote Susan Sharpe in her book, Restorative Justice: A Vision for Healing and Change, “. restorative justice reflects a belief that justice should, to the greatest degree possible do five things:
- Invite full participation and consensus
- Heal what has been broken
- Seek full and direct accountability
- Reunite what has been divided
- Strengthen the community, to prevent further harms
The mission of the Insight Prison Project is : restorative justice emphasizes the importance of working with prisoners and their victims in a way that promotes healing and encourages reconciliation, elevating the role of crime victims and community members in the process, holding prisoners directly accountable to the people they have violated, enabling prisoners to have access to transformative programs while incarcerated, restoring the emotional and material losses of victims, and providing a range of opportunities for dialogue, negotiation, and problem solving, whenever possible, that can lead to a greater sense of community safety, conflict resolution, and closure for all involved.
- Victim/Offender Mediation or Dialogue
- Peace making circles
- Victim assistance and involvement
- Former prisoner assistance and involvement
- Reduction of DMI (Disparate Minority Incarceration)
- Real restitution
- Community service
The Insight Prison Project began in 1997 to help bring Restorative Justice to prisoners in the California correctional systems. Self-motivated prisoners sign up for these rehabilitative classes to help themselves break the cycle of incarceration and to help them learn social and behavioral skills to reduce their rate of recidivism. Educational classes are designed to help bring a shift to harmful ingrained patterns of harmful and destructive behaviors. Replacing these harmful behaviors with positive behavior skills is one of the cores of the insight Prison Project.
Innovative prison rehabilitate programs such as Insight Prison Program can be a way to help with healing our current over-burdened prison and correctional facilities. To donate to this wonderful organization, please read more here.