The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world with one out of 32 Americans under criminal justice supervision. The rest of the world is intrigued by the paradox that the leading democracy in the free world imprisons so many of its citizens, 25% of the total prisoners worldwide.
UNLIKELY FRIENDS documents victims of brutal crimes who, through forgiveness, unexpectedly become friends with their perpetrators.
Finding a criminal justice system that has left them empty and unsupported, these victims of unspeakable crimes forgive out of a deep need to heal themselves, which in turn motivates the perpetrator to fully account for their actions and thereby begin the process of true rehabilitation.
These relationships, so unfathomable for most of us, open our thinking to new possibilities of how to transform a system ensconced in punishment and retribution to one of restorative justice that is based in humanity.
"Unlikely Friends” includes a rare and unique look into Insight Prison Projects Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG) surrogate dialogue panel held inside San Quentin State Prison. The 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. Click here for more information about the Victim Offender Education Group program.
Click here to see the "Unlikely Friends" trailer.