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Creating restorative and sustainable environment within custodial services: Capturing a template for the future.

Steels, Brian
June 4, 2015

Source: (2013) Paper for the Restorative Justice and Chinese Culture – 2013 Kinmen and Xiamen Workshops November 25th -30th 2013.

This paper aims to highlight the development and use of a universal template for designing and implementing a wholly restorative justice and environmental sustainable prison regime, shaped by restorative values and sustainable practices. The authors suggest that victims of crime, and families of prisoners need to see that the prison is engaged to do better and to make the community a safer place. In turn, the paper showcases the work being done to raise awareness through sustainable education and transformational programs, highlighting ways in which the current and punitive culture of the penal estate can be transformed among residents and others. It is within the prison, where residents can, if they wish, learn all aspects of the research and data collection and fully participate as research assistants and technical support. The paper will highlight these interconnected values and practices that remain mostly unexplored, suggesting an increase in further scientific literature across disciplines, communities and borders. The paper will discuss further expected outcomes including a greater understanding of responsibility taking, procedural fairness and harm reduction within a sustainable prison – restoring prisoners; their families, their communities and the planet. It will show the opportunity for a paradigmatic shift in the way that the total prison environment is viewed and managed and how in turn this impacts upon other institutions as well as smaller rural and remote communities where relationships with others and the environment are crucial in terms of sustainability and capacity building.
Furthermore, paper also speaks to several important issues found within prisons across jurisdictions; the high re-victimisation and recidivism rates, the awareness of harm done to others and the interconnection between prison, communities and the total impact on people and the environment. The authors draw upon the link between the penal estate’s creative and innovative activities and the local community’s needs and benefits, noting the opportunity for ex-prisoners to make the journey from convict to citizen, an area of special interest throughout the project. (author’s abstract)


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