Restorative Justice is a theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused or revealed by criminal behavior. The Restorative Justice model starts with the fact that an offender’s crime harmed someone and maintains that the offender should be led toward accepting responsibility for the crime and taking some action to mitigate its harm, if not to the victim directly, then to the larger community. The offender is encouraged to earn a place as a contributing member of society and is simultaneously helped by institutional staff, probation and parole officers and volunteers to prepare for a successful return to the community.
Over the years, offenders have had a role in repairing communities as members of carefully screened and selected work crews, providing basic maintenance and clean-up of schools, playgrounds and other public venues. Offenders organizations in state prisons raise and distribute tens of thousands of dollars each year in support of children’s groups and victim advocacy groups. These efforts are a natural extension of the Department’s commitment to assisting victims, supporting community needs and offering offenders opportunities to change.
How Does Corrections Help?
- An offender crew from Phelps Correctional Center unloads and bags donated food and toys for distribution to disadvantaged children and families during the Christmas holidays.
- Offenders at Louisiana State Penitentiary clean, repair and build toys and refurbish bicycles which are given to children during the holidays.
- All year long, offenders at Forcht-Wade Correctional Center make wooden toys for children using funds and materials donated by the community.
- Offenders at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women knitted and wrapped gloves, scarves and blankets for girls at a Mexico orphanage.
- Many offender organizations make donations to GRACE Camp, a five-day camping experience for children ages 9-11 who have incarcerated parents.
- Steve Hoyle Rehabilitation Center was recognized by the Restorative Justice Project of the Community/Corrections Collaboration for its participation in a community clean-up project in Tallulah, Louisiana. The facility warden, security officers and offender work crews joined other volunteers and community members in a city beautification project.