The following is a personal account from a current prisoner on his experiences with Restorative Justice practices.
By Jason Samuel for the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange
“I want to share with you a personal story about the true practice of restorative justice and how it plays a part in my life. In 2014, I participated in a restorative justice roundtable here in San Quentin State Prison and it was one of the first self-improvement programs I was involved in. During the course of the program, a video was shown about a police officer being shot at by an assailant. As a result of the shooting, the police officer lost one of his eyes. I was both shocked and surprised by the video because I also shot at a police officer. In the video, the police officer wanted to meet the shooter to find answers into what made the assailant want to kill him. The officer and the shooter agreed to meet each other for a year and gradually developed a strong bond and friendship. They met for the first time to have a dialogue about the shooting on that day that ultimately changed their lives. I could not believe what I was seeing, but I was glad that they found healing from past pain. It was wishful thinking to think that something like this could happen to me, but I held onto the hope that one day it would. On July 26, 2017, I went to my parole board suitability hearing and received a three-year denial. I was disappointed and hurt by my parole board denial, but a miracle happened. After the parole board hearing, Tom Morgan, the police officer I tried to kill on April 13, 1997 wanted to meet me….”
To Read More of Jason’s Story, click here!