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Restorative Justice in a Prison Community: Or Everything I Didn’t Learn in Kindergarten I Learned in Prison

Swanson, Cheryl
June 4, 2015

Source: (2009) Lanham: Lexington Books.

Arguing from the standpoint that prison reform is a moral and practical imperative, Swanson uses the example of the Honor Dorm in W.C. Holman Correctional Facility to demonstrate that restorative justice practices can have extremely positive results for the prisoners. She first outlines what the Honor Dorm asks of the inmates who enter it and then goes into the specific lessons prisoners learn. Throughout the book, she bolsters her arguments with direct testimonies from prisoners in the dorm. They learn ways of dealing with disputes that do not rely on violence through circle practices, empathy with their victims, life skills through mentoring and education programs, and how to fit in with a community that requires a submission to authority by holding jobs. Swanson continues with a brief exploration of how restorative justice fits into communities outside of the prison environment and how officers feel about the Honor Dorm.


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