Sycamore Tree: Restorative Justice at work in Queensland, Australia
RJI appreciates the good and important work being done in Queensland, Australia through Prison Fellowship-Queensland. Restorative Justice International is a big advocate of in-prison programs that bring victims of crime together with offenders to talk about crime. This program, as is true with the first Sycamore Tree Project in 1998 in the United States, brings together surrogate victims and offenders together: real victims and real offenders but unrelated cases. This is restorative justice at work in a prison setting. We believe this type of programming paves the way for victim offender dialogue for the victim and offender participants. But regardless, the benefits of this restorative justice program are real. Sycamore, and other programs like it, should be in use everywhere. I am a particular advocate of this program because I was the director of the first Sycamore Tree in Sugarland, Texas working with Prison Fellowship International. The only question is why are we not doing more of this type of programming that holds offenders accountable and allows a measure of healing to occur in the lives of crime victims?
This is Lisa Rea for Restorative Justice International.