Sycamore Tree Project: Justice and Peace
Sycamore Tree Project: Justice and Peace can have profound effects on the victims and offenders.
Justice systems are generally punitive and do not rehabilitate people who are convicted of a crime.
Sycamore Tree Project: Justice and Peace (STP), increases prisoners’ awareness of how crime harms victims, what is needed to make amends, and how to be peacemakers in the future. The program has a powerful impact on both prisoner and victim participants, and studies have shown that offenders who go through STP have significant changes in attitude that make it less likely they will re-offend once released.
Criminal justice systems in most countries are failing. Millions of prisoners are held in crowded, debilitating conditions as they wait for trial. Justice system moves slowly—some prisoners wait for trial longer than the maximum sentence they could receive if found guilty, up to 10 years.
Restorative justice repairs the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational. When people talk about restorative justice, the definition revolves around three big ideas.
- Encounter: Justice is both relational and participatory. Justice is best done by and with the victim, offender, and other stakeholders, not to them.
- Repair: Justice is best done by making things right for the victim.
- Transform: Justice is best pursued in a just world. This means justice is best pursued in a safe space or encounter where all involved can authentically speak and listen to one another. The space is meant to lead to tangible change (heart, mind, and action) by the offender and also to give the victim and community a voice, an opportunity to respond, and thus an occasion to grow and thrive.
Sycamore Tree Project: Justice and Peace program helps repair the harm caused by crime by bringing together victims and prisoners to discuss issues related to crime and its consequences. Using an eight-week curriculum, developed by Prison Fellowship International and based on the Book of Luke, a facilitator leads participants to consider concepts of responsibility, confession, repentance, forgiveness, amends, and reconciliation in the context of crime and justice. Offenders confront the harm—often for the first time—their actions have caused to others. Many victims report receiving a measure of healing.
Studies have shown that offenders who go through the Sycamore Tree Project have significant changes in attitudes so they no longer view crime as acceptable, making it less likely they will re-offend once released.
Watch How Sycamore Tree Project: Justice and Peace Is Making A Difference
Change Isn’t Just Possible, It’s Happening
- 78 Prisons Running Sycamore Tree Project: Justice and Peace
- 2,176 Victims Shared Their Experiences
- 21,931 Prisoners Have Graduated The Course