Criminal Justice and Sociology Professor Karen Lischinsky, founder of the Transformational Prison Project , continues her advocacy for restorative justice on a national scale.
In June, Dr. Lischinsky went to the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington D.C. to participate in an expert panel about male violence and services for male survivors in prison. The panel explored issues facing service providers who work with men who are victims of domestic violence. Dr. Lischinsky delivered a presentation about the challenges of dealing with incarcerated men who have committed sexual harm and or are victims of sexual harm.
Dr. Lischinsky recently led a two-day Restorative Justice Responsibility Retreat for more than 240 incarcerated men inside the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk. The retreat brings together survivors of sexual harm and family members of homicide victims, state and federal judges and prosecutors, social workers, psychologists, elected officials, Department of Correction representatives, and community leaders to engage in dialogue that emphasizes the survivors of violent crimes needs and issues related to responsibility, accountability, and healing for all.
At the retreat, survivors of homicide and sexual harm tell their stories, which in turn helps many of the incarcerated men in attendance to better understand the consequences of their own actions and empathize with victims of crime. Many of the incarcerated men at the retreat stood up and openly acknowledged their wrongdoing and the harm that it has caused their victim(s), their families, and their communities.
Since its inception in 2011, the annual retreat seeks to highlight restorative practices by promoting real accountability, which involves having those who have harmed others face up to what they have done and take steps to make things right as much as possible.
Lastly, Dr. Lischinsky was involved behind-the-scenes with the production of a film called "American Jail," which will air on CNN on Sunday, July 1, at 8 p.m. Lischinsky made it possible for Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams to go inside Norfolk Prison and learn more about the issues of mass incarceration and restorative justice.