The article also highlights Insight Prison Project's Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG) program inside San Quentin State Prison. The Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG) program supports incarcerated individuals in the process of understanding and developing insight into the underlying circumstances of their lives and the choices that led them to come to prison. The process utilizes a Restorative Justice philosophy to help individuals to address memories and feelings connected to traumatic and unresolved events in their lives in an effort to integrate these experiences into their lives and experience a renewed sense of wholeness, authenticity, emotional well being and positive behavior.
'Reports Show Restorative Justice Programs Prove Effective'
“I was able to understand first hand the pain the victims felt, and I am now able to empathize with them. Meeting with the surrogate victim, I was able to find remorse and accountability for my actions. I now dedicate most of my life to public service by trying to detour young at-risk children from gang activity and violence.”
By Isaiah Thompson-Bonilla, Journalism Guild Writer, San Quentin News
In the United States, the restorative justice movement is on the rise. For instance, in San Quentin State Prison, Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG) prepares offenders to meet community members who stand-in as victims of crime. The interactions give offenders the opportunity to address issues surrounding their criminal convictions. This process of self-inquiry occurs through a series of exercises ranging from crime impact statements to childhood trauma.
VOEG participants report these meetings have been powerful. The platform provides room for catharsis and healing, for offenders and victims alike. “VOEG helped me to connect my childhood traumas to nefarious behavior throughout my life,” said VOEG graduate Cedric Walker, an ex-gang member serving a life sentence
Click here to read Reports Show Restorative Justice Programs Prove Effective in the August 2014 issue of the San Quentin News. The article can be found on page 8.