Forgiveness at landmark Norfolk prison course. Annabel Valentine. (2010). Network. The Norwich and Norfolk Christian Community Website.
From the article by Annabel Valentine: A Christian-based restorative justice course has been run for the 1000th time in a UK prison, at Wayland Prison in Norfolk, and included the extraordinary story of forgiveness of a couple whose teenage son was murdered nine years ago.
For the past six years, Prison Fellowship volunteers in Wayland Prison have been presenting and facilitating the Sycamore Tree course in restorative justice. The most recent course completed on December 14 at Wayland was a milestone, being the 1,000th to be run in UK prisons and giving rise to a special celebration.
Representing victims of crime were Ray and Vi Donovan (pictured above), who shared the extraordinary testimony of how they came to be able to forgive the young men who caused the death of their 18-year-old son nine years ago, when he was beaten to death by a gang in an unprovoked attack.
The six-week course, devised by Prison Fellowship and accredited by the Open College Network, is based on the story of Zaccheus in Luke 19, and seeks to bring offenders to full awareness of the far-reaching effects of crime on their immediate victims, their families, the wider community and indeed themselves.
Issues of taking responsibility for our own actions, forgiveness of others and self are explored, together with the need for both victims and offenders to be restored. On week three, a victim of crime comes in to tell about the impact of crime on their lives and on the final day, participants are given the opportunity of making a symbolic act of restitution.
Read, "Forgiveness at landmark Norfolk prison course." Annabel Valentine. (2010). Network. The Norwich and Norfolk Christian Community Website.