In Missouri, offenders perform restorative justice initiatives that assist victims and victimized communities as part of their sentence to prison. The Department's restorative justice initiative encourages offenders to reflect on the harm caused by their criminal activity and to make restoration to victims, the community and their families. Restorative Justice also provides the offender the opportunity to leave the system with an improved attitude and sense of belonging as well as strengthening the social bonds that serve as the foundation of our communities. Impact of Crime on Victim Classes (ICVC) are currently being offered in every institution as well as most probation and parole offices across the state. They provide victims a safe and structured opportunity to talk about the impact of crime on their lives and assist the department in developing in offenders an increased sensitivity towards victims to prevent further victimization. The classes encompass a range of crimes committed in Missouri and offenders are compelled to explore the impact of these crimes on relationships in the community and within the families of the victims. This is one of the core programs that is mandated under the Missouri Reentry Process.
Probation and Parole offices sponsor a variety of restorative justice programs for offenders under their supervision living in the community. Reparation/ Accountability Boards are comprised of citizens from the community specially trained by department staff to meet with offenders concerning their behavior under supervision. They provide the court with an assessment of offender needs and how the offender can best repair the harm they have caused the victim or the community. All crime victims have an opportunity to provide information/statement outlining what impact the crime has had on their lives through the court reports prepared by probation and parole staff and how the offender may best repair the harm they have caused their victim or the community, which may include physical and/or psychological harm and financial loss.
In FY 13 over 1,079,900 hours were volunteered by offenders in the institutions on reparative activities. In FY 13, 26,674 offenders volunteered to do reparative activities in the institutions. Community volunteers help oversee some of these projects in the institutions. Products were delivered to shelters, daycare centers, nursing homes, meals on wheels program, hospitals, victims, schools, not-for-profit organizations, etc… across the state.
- Some examples of the activities that are occurring in the 20 institutions include:
- Refurbishing bikes
- Refurbishing wheelchairs, canes and crutches
- Building PET carts for the disabled
- Happy hats for cancer victims
- Building birdhouses
- Sewing pants to give to rape victims in hospitals and shelters
- Nine of the institutions have restorative justice gardens with produce going to food banks, nursing homes, domestic violence shelters, etc…
- Crocheting afghans for “Afghans for Angels” to give to hospitals around the state to give to parents who have suffered the loss of their infant
- Providing lap blankets to veterans in the VA hospitals
- Providing teaching and educational aids to schools across the state
- Sewing quilts and lap blankets
- Crocheting afghans
- Crocheting and sewing hats and scarves to give to children who are in shelters and those that come to school cold
- Woodworking projects – toys, toy chest, doll houses, etc…
- Provide assistance for Habitat for Humanity
- Provide pillows to the Children's Hospital in St. Louis
- Provide fidget quilts to Alzheimer's patients
- Provide backpacks to foster care children so they have something to take with them from foster home to foster home
- Provide backpacks to school children that can't afford them
- Provide cards, flowers, etc… for the Meals on Wheels Program
- Provide cards to nursing homes for staff to give to the patients on their birthday and special events
- Provide blankets for those children who are autistic
- Provide paintings and drawings on certain messages to be used in the community for benefits, auctions, etc…
In CY 12, approximately 234,000 lbs of produce plus tons of individual produce such as pumpkins, squash, etc… was delivered to shelters, food banks, senior citizen homes, etc… across the state of Missouri. This produce was grown in our restorative justice gardens inside the institutions.