Victim Offender Dialogue Facilitator Training for Severe and Violent Crimes
This Restorative Justice training will teach individuals the fundamental skills required to facilitate dialogues between victims/survivors and the responsible party of severe and violent crime.
About Victim Offender Dialogues
A Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) is a dialogue between a harmed person and the person responsible for the harm. The purpose of a VOD is to provide those who have been harmed with an opportunity to have a structured, face-to-face meeting with the person responsible for the harm in a secure, safe environment in order to facilitate a transformative process for all parties involved. The dialogues are voluntary for both parties and guided by volunteer facilitators specifically trained in the process of Victim Offender Dialogues.
VOD Program at Insight Prison Project (IPP)
IPP has worked in collaboration with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) for over a decade, providing Victim Offender Dialogues in cases of severe and violent crime, to victims/survivors whose responsible parties are incarcerated in a California State Prison. The process is initiated by the harmed party requesting a dialogue through the CDCR’s Office of Victim and Survivors’ Rights and Services (OVSRS). The VOD process is based on the nationally recognized Humanistic Approach to Mediation as taught by Mark Umbreit and David Doerfler. Insight Prison Project trains, coordinates and supervises VOD volunteer facilitators.
Restorative Justice originates from Maori in New Zealand, First Nations and other indigenous societies. It is a philosophy and social movement offering an entirely different way of thinking about crime and victimization. Our current retributive justice system focuses on punishment as a way to hold those who are responsible, accountable; regards the state as the primary victim of criminal acts, and casts the ‘victim’ and ‘offender’ in passive roles.
Restorative Justice by contrast, focuses on healing, restoration and rehabilitation. It assumes that the persons most affected by wrongdoing should have the opportunity to be actively engaged in resolving the conflict. The goal of Restorative Justice is to support the responsible party to be fully accountable for their actions, repair the harm they have caused to the greatest extent possible, and restore the broken relationship(s). Helping survivors of harm move beyond a sense of disempowerment and creating the opportunity for them to be seen, heard and actively involved in the outcome, stands in sharp contrast to the conventional focus on criminal behavior and punishment. Over the past four decades, Restorative Justice has evolved into a viable alternative within the criminal justice system to confront wrongdoing. RJ also incorporates a strong human rights analysis that emphasizes the factors of race and class in the over-incarceration of people.
IPP offers volunteer opportunities to facilitate dialogues in California State Prisons. New volunteers will be paired with an experienced VOD facilitator to conduct a dialogue until the case is complete. An average of 6 months to a year is a common length of involvement for most cases. This is approximately an 8 - 12 hour monthly commitment and could require day long travel depending on the location of the parties involved. Volunteers are supported by IPP staff and supervised by the VOD Program Coordinator and IPP Programs Director / Clinical Supervisor.
Please note that due to a variety of factors, not all training participants will be selected as VOD volunteers.
VOD Training Objectives
Once you are selected to attend the training, IPP will send you a bill with payment in full required 30 days prior to the training date in order to hold your space in the training. If you cancel 21 days or more in advance you will receive a full refund minus a $25 service charge. If you cancel with 20 days or less notice, you are not entitled to a cash refund. However, as a courtesy, we will allow you to apply your payment toward a future IPP training within one year from the date you cancel. Please note that if you do not attend and you do not cancel as described above, you are responsible for the entire payment. Please also note that we can not guarantee that another training will be offered during that year.
Upcoming Training Information
Please note: Upcoming training dates are currently TBA. Please sign up for our training newsletter to stay informed about training opportunities.
Due to high interest in our VOD facilitator trainings, we are moving to an application process. After receiving your application, a staff member will contact you by email or phone call to follow up. We appreciate your patience and enthusiasm for doing this work.