'Restorative Justice' course teaches MS inmates compassion, accountability

'Restorative Justice' course teaches MS inmates compassion, accountability

MARSHALL CO., MS (WMC) - A class led by an Ole Miss professor is helping inmates in Mississippi learn compassion and transform their lives.

Dr. Linda Keena leads a program called Restorative Justice to inmates at Marshall County Correctional Facility.

"Restorative justice is, as a criminal justice system, we need to be putting things in play in order to help an offender learn to accept accountability, and then help the offender to make amends," Dr. Keena said.

The idea of a program is to change the way the inmates think. They want the inmates to acknowledge the wrong that they have done and think about the victims they harmed.

"There are victims to our crime," inmate Baron McGee said. "That's what I'm thankful for. Restorative justice is making me conscious; we know that we hurt people, but we don't pay attention to it. We just think, 'it's fine, it'll be alright, they're okay'. But then, restorative justice makes you take a look at [how] you really did some damage to someone's life."

Dr. Keena said she believes once the men are aware of the accountability for their actions, they'll be less likely to commit the offense again, knowing the harm they have done.

McGee said some of those in the course have even spread the concept of Restorative Justice to other inmates, old and young.

"We're just very fortunate that we have an individual (Dr. Keena) that is willing to devote [her] time," Deputy Warden Harold Taylor said. "They're not getting paid any services on it, it's strictly volunteer. It helps us, and it helps our inmate population."

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