Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG)
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.
Specifically, the VOEG process recognizes that many incarcerated individuals have experienced unresolved traumatic events in their early lives which have contributed to their offending behaviors. The facilitators work to help identify and repair as much as possible the trauma by creating an environment of trust, safety, inclusiveness, acceptance and compassion and where issues of abuse, loss, thinking errors and transference can be acknowledged and addressed. We have found that in this environment, participants in the VOEG process are often able to self‐identify patterns of negative behaviors and begin to replace them with healthier ways of thinking and behaving.
The program is divided into three main areas:
The predominant themes of focus in the VOEG experiential group process include:
The VOEG model encompasses an initial 8‐month intensive program, which is followed by an advanced program called the NEXT STEP, where prisoners commit to participating in a 1 year curriculum, applying and integrating the tools they have learned. Graduates of the NEXT STEP are considered “Stewards” of the VOEG program and are encouraged to initiate ways of giving back to their prison community. Currently at San Quentin, the Stewards run a successful program for Reception Center prisoners, introducing them to the principles and practices of the Restorative Justice circle process, the concept of personal accountability and understanding the impact of their actions.
Expected Benefits for VOEG Participants
Voices from the Inside:
“The valuable lessons we have learned will go well beyond these walls. I thank you for your support, the manner in which it was applied, and the level of commitment you continue to give those that are trying to rehabilitate themselves”. - KP
Interested in becoming a VOEG facilitator?
IPP is offering our multi-phase Facilitator Training, based on our Restorative Justice Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG) model of group facilitation successfully started at San Quentin State Prison. Click here to learn more.