“The experience made me more inclined to ask: What’s an alternative to throwing the book?”
These are the words of an Ohio prosecutor, one of 44 who spent the day with Healing Broken Circles and Prosecutor Impact at Marion Correctional, experiencing the humanity of people in prison, and the work of accountability and healing that many behind bars are engaged in.
On July 31, 2019, Healing Broken Circles welcomed Prosecutor Impact and 40-plus Central Ohio prosecutors into our event space at Marion Correctional.
From early morning to late afternoon, our incarcerated HBC staff facilitated conversations, activities, and trainings designed to foster empathy between historically opposed groups: prosecutors and those they sentence.
The event was a result of HBC’s partnership with Prosecutor Impact. Founded by Adam Foss, Prosecutor Impact is dedicated to transforming the win-at-all-costs prosecutorial system.
At the beginning of the day, many of the city and county prosecutors were apprehensive, even fearful, of entering the prison. By the end of the day, it was hard to get them to leave. A few shared that it was the most impactful thing they’ve ever done.
91% reported that the day will have a lasting impact on their approach to criminal justice, calling the experience eye-opening, revelatory, powerful, and transformative. Incarcerated participants shared how their own assumptions and biases towards prosecutors were checked. At day's end, a few expressed that they can see a better shot and a better future for the young people who look like them, who come from their neighborhoods, with these prosecutors in office.
Prosecutors and incarcerated men came together in dialogue and understanding to work towards a justice system based on repair, healing, accountability, safety, and the health and success of the community.
Truly amazing to partner with Prosecutor Impact on this system-transforming work!
If you haven't seen Adam Foss's TED Talk, please do. And learn about Prosecutor Impact here.