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About The Sycamore Tree: A Community Managed Restorative Justice Programme

Workman, Kim
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) Prison Fellowship New Zealand. Downloaded 15 April 2005.

Around four years ago, Prison Fellowship International (PFI) decided to develop a
programme that would bring small groups of victim volunteers into prisons to meet with
small groups of prisoners to talk about their experiences with crime. The victims and
offenders are not related (that is, the victims are not the particular victims of those
offenders), and studies in North America and Europe had suggested that this kind of
meeting are useful for both victims and offenders.
PFI convened an international design team to explore how such a program might be
constructed and to oversee development of the curriculum. This was a task the team took
seriously, since the issues and group dynamics generated in these meetings could be
quite powerful. The project, known as the Sycamore Tree Project, was launched in a
men’s prison in Houston, Texas. The second programme was in Arohata Women’s Prison,
New Zealand. A third ran in a men’s prison in England.
PFI evaluated the pilot programme and a team has re-written the “Sycamore Tree”
manual. (excerpt)


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