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Family Group Decision Making Helps Prison Inmates Reintegrate into Society

Mirsky, Laura
June 4, 2015

Source: (2009) Restorative Practices E-FOrum. 21 September 2009.

It Takes a Village, a private service provider based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, provides FGDM for youth and families. Agency program manager Dewaine Finkenbinder began using FGDM with adjudicated prisoners in Adams County in 2003. Adams was the first county in the nation to utilize a cross-system approach involving both the department of children and youth services and justice agencies, said Finkenbinder.

In FGDMs at Adams County Prison, family members meet with the prisoner and prison officials. Prison officials have an opportunity to relate the inmate’s positive behaviors and accomplishments during his or her incarceration, enabling the family to focus on achievements rather than the behavior leading to imprisonment. Finkenbinder said that this strength-based approach is proving transformational in Adams County’s criminal justice system. (excerpt)


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