Restorative justice is a significantly different way of looking at and responding to the problem of crime – a way that can lead to healing and transformation for victims and offenders alike, says the manual.

"At its heart, restorative justice is about relationships," Lamsma writes in the workshop manual. "It asks who has been harmed, and what needs to happen to repair that harm. When used in prison ministry, restorative justice can help inmates take responsibility for their actions and understand the impact of their behavior."

Lamsma's training manual helps ministries better understand how they can help inmates acknowledge and take personal responsibility for their own behavior.

The manual also discusses how, using biblical principles, members of a jail ministry can work with the offender to rebuild relationships with individuals as well as the community itself that has been affected by the crime. This is not easily accomplished and volunteers need to be aware that restorative justice requires patience and grace and can often take many years.

"The key to useful restorative justice is having the ability to integrate your faith with walking with prisoners through their challenges," said Lamsma. "It is important that volunteers model and live a Christian lifestyle."

Read the whole article.

Download the manual.