The Restorative Justice class at Brigham Young University Hawaii recently took a field trip to the Women’s Correctional Center in Kailua. In the class, we are currently learning about accountability, justice, reconciliation, and healing. Attending the prison to participate in a circle was really informative and a special experience.

Upon arriving at the facility, we were met by a man who taught us a bit about what goes on in the prison. They try to have many different activities and classes for the women to keep them busy and preoccupied. The restorative justice class was just one of many that the women could attend. A restorative lawer from Oahu runs the program at the correctional facility and facilitates the circles. 

We were able to meet the women and get to know them a little bit before we started the session. One thing I found really interesting was that often times inmates come in generations. I think that shows that many of the behaviors are learned and picked up through cultures. The facilitator opened the circle by asking us to go around the room, introduce ourselves, and say one positive thing that happened to us that day. It was neat to hear about the women’s lives and how what made them happy made us happy as well. After that, we broke off into groups with the inmates and started a small mediation role play. I was paired up with a woman who was hilarious and fun. It was such a pleasure to talk story with her. She was relatively new to the course, so it was fun being able to learn and figure out the circle with her. After the mediation, we all came together and shared our insights.

It was so amazing to be able to hear from and interact with these women. They were so fun and you could see how much light they had in them. Hearing their stories and learning about their lives was such an eye opening experience. I came into the prison a little scared and not knowing what to expect, and I left feeling uplifted and loved. It was such a great experience being able to go to the Women's Correctional Facility in Kailua and experience their restorative justice program.

 

Post by Sydney