A conversation with Dr. T. Richard Snyder about the inspiring work of restorative justice. This approach brings together the victim, the offender and the community of people affected by a crime in order to find solutions that not only work to repair the damage, but build healing for all the parties involved. Hear how a profoundly different approach to corrections, built on the example of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, actually reduces recidivism and builds community.
An interview with psychiatrist, Dr. Jim Gilligan, former mental health director for the prison system in Massachusetts, and the author of three books on violence. Dr. Gilligan reports that many of his patients told him that they had committed murder and other acts of violence because they felt disrespected. He reports that for these men, feeling treated as if they were one down, weak or inferior was intolerable, and that violence was their only means of reclaiming pride or self-esteem. He also observes that punishment tends to generate violence, both in parenting and in our penal system. Punishment relieves people of the guilt (that inhibits violence), but increases their shame, which fuels violent acting out. Under his tenure, the only prison program that successfully reduced recidivism to zero, was offering course toward a college degree. In those men who completed the program, they now had non-violent means of reclaiming their self-esteem, and feeling less ashamed.