AZ Prisons’ Restorative Justice Plan Helps Inmates, Victims


Arizona prisons are running a pilot program to show inmates the impact of their crimes and to help them see the consequences from a victim’s perspective, reports the Arizona Republic. Officials say the voluntary program could prevent inmates from committing new crimes when they are released and be healing for victims. The program, called the Impact of Crime on Victims, is being piloted in six of Arizona’s 10 prisons. It is expected to go statewide by the end of the year. “I have a reproach for crime now that I didn’t have before,” said Kevin Wilkins, who is serving time for selling drugs. “I feel repulsed by crime and what it does and the way it causes heartache.” Wilkins says he no longer sees what he was doing as a “faceless crime.”

The program, part of a larger Restorative Justice initiative that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime, is becoming popular at prisons across the nation. The idea is to create a different way of thinking about crime and to have offenders take responsibility for their actions and make amends for the harm they caused. “For the inmate, it is frequently quite startling,” state Corrections Director Dora Schriro said. “They begin to appreciate that their conduct has had profound impact on others, and it has not been good, and it lasts a long, long time. For inmates to make that connection is really important in whether they continue to act this way.”


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