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CJR News

Short articles highlighting PF national affiliate justice work.

Christian Intensive Religious Counselling Programme
In late January, PF Singapore celebrated the graduation of 21 men from the Christian Intensive Counselling Programme (CIRCP). Testimonies of transformation and stories of reconciliation between the prisoners and their family members highlighted the event. Prison officers also spoke about the changes they had seen in the men.
Seeking Reconciliation in Botswana
As a result of regular in-prison activities, PF Botswana receives requests from families who want to reconcile with their family members. Often, the relatives are also direct victims of the offender.
Sycamore Tree Project® launched in Brazil
On 28 October, PF Brazil held the final celebration event for the first Sycamore Tree Project® (STP) to be run in the Masculine APAC in the city of Itauna. During the event, the six participating victims and six participating prisoners (called recuperandos in APAC) shared about their experiences :
Tending deep wounds
In October, PF South Africa held its last scheduled Sycamore Tree Project® (STP) course for 2013 in Pretoria Women’s Correctional Centre. The 18 prisoners and six victims addressed many issues related to crime and the harm that it causes. For one, the programme offered an opportunity to address the deep wounds of racism and violence from her country’s past.
Study offers cost-benefit analysis of the InnerChange Freedom Initiative
In an article published in the International Journal of Criminology and Sociology, Grant Duwe and Byron R. Johnson provide an estimate of both re-offense cost savings from and tax contributions of graduates from the InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI) in the state of Minnesota.
Updates from Brazil
More states and municipalities in Brazil recognise the importance of humanising the prison system and embrace the APAC methodology as a strategy for doing so. A quick look at the PF Brazil website shows a list of 79 APACs in the state of Minas Gerais and a total of 11 more in five other states.
A report on the Sycamore Tree Project®
PF Northern Ireland created this report to highlight their experiences with the Sycamore Tree Project® in HMP Maghaberry and YOC Hudebank Wood in April and May 2013.
Legal aid in Togo
At the end of 2012, 65% of the 4,060 people in Togo’s prisons were on pre-trial detention[1]. According to one human rights report[2], the majority of those were eligible for release as they had served half of the possible sentence for the crime with which they had been charged. In response, PF Togo created a legal aid programme to assist prisoners in accessing this benefit.
Collapsing barriers between victims and offenders
In mid-July, PF Italy completed the first Sycamore Tree Project® (STP) course in Modena Prison. Nine prisoners and five crime survivors came together to share their stories and develop a mutual respect for each other.
APAC Hungary
PF Hungary launched its APAC programme in 2009 inspired by the APAC methodology developing by PF Brazil. Due to constraints in the Hungarian prison system, APAC Hungary focuses on the development of family relationships by encouraging interaction through visits and letters. To facilitate this, the programme helps address obstacles such as travel costs to allow relatives to visit their loved ones in the APAC unit.
APAC Costa Rica
APAC Costa Rica first opened in May 2006 with 20 recuperandos – as prisoners are known in the APAC methodology -- in the Centre de Atención Institucional Cartago. Three years later the programme moved to a different province where more prisoners could participate. In early 2013, APAC Costa Rica operated in the Centro Semi Insitucional San Augustin where the programme can house 80 recuperandos.
PF Brazil Receives Recognition
PF Brazil's job training program was singled out as the "Most Promising Approach" by the Jobs Knowledge Platform recently.
Seeing the Other Side
When prisoners are confronted with crime victims who share their painful stories, the change can be remarkable.
Developing Dialogue in South Africa
In March 2013, the Department of Correctional Services invited the members of PF South Africa’s Sycamore Tree Project® (STP) team at Pretoria Female Centre to become part of the Victim Offender Dialogue Commission in their area. The team, having worked to facilitate dialogue between indirect victims and offenders over the last three years, will now help ten of those prisoner participants to meet directly with their victims to make amends. As a part of the commission, the PF South Africa team will help locate and prepare those crime survivors wishing to participate in the dialogues.
Sycamore Tree Project® and Rape in Bolivia
Recently, PF Bolivia completed its sixth Sycamore Tree Project® (STP) course. This time, after much prayer and preparation, the course focused on prisoners who had been sentenced or detained for rape of a minor. Despite the sensitive nature of the theme and setbacks with the participants, the facilitators report a powerful experience with the prisoner participants showing empathy for their own victims.
Preparing facilitators in Czech Republic
In late 2012, PF Czech Republic held a seminar to introduce the Sycamore Tree Project® to volunteers and key stakeholders from the prison service. For the second step in programme implementation, the ministry followed the seminar with a smaller training in February 2013. During that training, the participants talked through the materials, made implementation plans, and practiced role plays with an ex-offender to help provide more authenticity to the training.
The Sycamore Tree Project: Prisoner X and Prisoner Y
From the article on the 612 ABC Brisbane website: Inmates who take part in the Sycamore Tree Project are encouraged to talk about their experiences at the graduation ceremony in an effort to create some sort of closure.
The Sycamore Tree Project: Melissa's story
From the article on the 612 ABC Brisbane website: 14 years ago, Melissa Hutton became a victim of a serious crime. She was working in a bank when it was robbed. During which, the perpetrator held a gun to her head.
It's Never Too Late
Thirty years after stealing a family heirloom, a former thief gets the chance to apologize to his victim.
Working with Juvenile Offenders in Bolivia
In late 2012, the PF Bolivia chapter in Oruro piloted a victim empathy course called, “What have I done?” for young offenders. The course, adapted from the original English by volunteers, uses various activities to help young people understand the impact of criminal or harmful behaviour and to begin taking responsibility for their own actions.
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