February 25, 2014 Editor

Restorative Justice and Prison Visitation

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WN: The following was written for the Mennonite Brethren Herald, and published August 2001. This was also typical of similar articles and presentations while I worked with M2/W2 Association (eventually known fully under my leadership as Man-To-Man/Woman-To-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries). I was a volunteer with the program beginning in 1974, and never stopped visiting prisoners until the year of my retirement, 2014. I was first on staff with the program from 1980 to 1989, and served later as Executive Director from 1998 until 2014, the year of my retirement. I currently joyfully remain connected to many Restorative Justice initiatives.

 My wife Esther and I had an amazing eight-week experience in Rwanda May 18 to July 12, 2018. We were exposed to much about Rwanda’s post-genocide (1994) reconciliation journey. We were left with “impressions” when we departed, with no particular authority gained to “critique” realities there. While there I wrote a series of “Dispatches” about our reconciliation learning. They may be accessed here.

This was typical of similar articles and presentations while I worked with M2/W2 Association.

An excerpt:

It makes you think a lot. Jesus’ words about the marginalized. I mean, unfortunately, he didn’t tie salvation down to a formula, a creed, or a set of “spiritual laws”. Rather, he connected our freedom to others’ service. It is a representative list only, in Matthew 25. Really, simply no one is excluded – as that Legal Beagle in Luke 10 learned when he asked, “And who is my neighbour?” He wanted to “justify himself”, the text says. So he asked the question. Quite plainly, our neighbour is Everyman. And we are, each one of us, a sheep or a goat, depending on how we respond to the neighbour. After all, our embrace of the other is the only thing that shows we have been justified, something we need not, cannot, do for ourselves anyway.

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.