Pilot Programs and Processes for Prison

Prison Pilot Programs and Processes

For a small organization Hawai‘i Friends has been extremely effective in developing and measuring the effectiveness of unique restorative justice (RJ) programs and disseminating information about them across the world.

Since 1996 Hawai‘i Friends has promoted restorative justice, which is based on democratic decision making and applies public health education principals, i.e. it is empowering, relies on active learning experiences for affecting positive behavioral, emotional, and cognitive changes for individuals and communities. Restorative justice offers people who have harmed others the opportunity to learn from wrongdoing and it offers those harmed the opportunity to find ways to cope with their harm and explore healing.

Most restorative justice experiences result in increased optimism of participants and observers. RJ has been studied worldwide and has been shown to reduce recidivism in a number of settings, i.e. prisons, juvenile and adult court cases, schools. HFRJ uses a solution-focused approach to RJ. It developed a reentry planning process for the loved ones of people incarcerated people and their loved ones. The reentry planning circles have been independently evaluated and shown to reduce repeat crime: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3291843 See too: Sherman & Strang, Restorative Justice: the evidence, 2007 at http://www.smith-institute.org.uk/download-pages/download_restorative-justice-full-report.htm.

Restorative justice deals with wrongdoing and social injustice where the people who caused the harm may not be identifiable (See, Braithwaite, Restorative Justice and Responsive Regulation, 2002). HFRJ developed a program in 2002 to help people harmed by injustice who do not meet with the people who harmed them: https://www.iirp.edu/pdf/lwalker04.pdf Many people too incarcerated do not know who they harmed, yet they can address making amends restoratively.

HFRJ provides services including books for imprisoned people and others the it works with. It has received generous donations of books from the Pema Chodron Foundation including When Things Fall Apart, Taking a Leap, and many other books by Pema Chodron.

Books by others that are also regularly distributed to people who HFRJ works with include:
Maya Angelou
Thomas Merton
Anne Frank
Viktor Frankl
Br. Davie Steindl-Rast
Eile Wiesel
Samual Marcus
Cheryl Strayed
Bryan Stevens