I admit my mistakes more easily when other people are helping me to improve. My admission is an agreement with others to make progress, and the very best kind is admission to myself that I can do better.
The February 25 post this year introduced restorative justice for improving conditions by replacing bad with good behavior. The program reduces the hurt to the perpetrator and to the victim. Redirecting lives requires effort on both sides.
The prison Shakespeare project is one example of changing lives. Teachers report that inmates understand the misdeeds in the stories. They identify with the hurt and the needs. Performing the plays is a process of redemption through education. Thought and awareness change people from within.
I have seen a picture of a Norwegian prison cell that was almost as large and as nice as my dormitory room in a prestigious university. Citizens there have intentionally provided for education in prison knowing that is less expensive and more effective than repairing damage caused by crime. Retribution and punishment are not ingredients of rehabilitation because they perpetuate the hurt without reconstruction. In contrast, education is positive replacement of behavior.
We who are not in prison are exercising our own education when we impart it to those who are in prison. If we have no strength to educate those who have offended, we ourselves are uneducated.
The next post examines how and to whom this applies.