By Clifford Hill
February 28, 2018
"Wow!" is the first word that comes to me when I reflect on the restorative justice (RJ) workshop I was so blessed to be invited to take part in here at Graterford this past weekend. What an eye opener and learning experience it was for me. When I was told about it, it still wasn't clear to me what it was based on or had to do with. I was however pretty certain that it was something positive and for mental and self-growth, particularly since the person who invited me had been nothing but a positive influence and motivator form the moment we met. Ironically, within myself, concerning the crimes I committed to get here (armed robbery), thoughts and concern for the victims in my case have been heavy on my heart and mind, sort of plaguing me if you will. Conviction and love fro others has come back to me and set in (God's work, not mine).
After learning so much and watching actual footage of the results, growth, pain, joy, and self-reconciliation take place in the process, I must say RJ is by fart the most positive, God driven, powerful, and gratifying program that prison has to offer. It is real, realistic, needed, and not utilized nearly enough. There is so much good, and usefulness, to be gained by allowing the victim to see for themselves, and not just hear about, a person via the prosecution and media. One bad decision is all it takes. Some of us really do make mistakes, have drug problems, mental problems, etc. Though none are OK to commit, all crimes are not done maliciously.
"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others, and if we can't do that, at least don't hurt them." - Dali Lama