Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Prison of Peace
Today at Hastings we had the pleasure of hosting Laurel Kaufer, founder of Prison of Peace, a unique program at Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, CA. At the initiative of Susan Russo, one of the inmates, who sought to alleviate the violence in her immediate environment, fifteen women were trained in mediation skills and received mediation certification. Some of these women proceeded to become trainers, and now a hundred and fifty women in prison have skills that enable them to help others process conflict in healthy, empathetic ways. Prison authorities report a calmer, less violent prison. What a wonderful thing it is to provide people in a stressful, violent environment the skills they need to resolve conflicts, conduct peace circles, and listen attentively to others.