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Restorative Justice: RSVP

Violence is learned. Violence can be unlearned.

Resolve To Stop Violence.

RSVP: Model For Implementation

What if time spent in jail is used for rehabilitative and restorative purposes?


  • People who have committed violent crimes eventually complete their sentences and return to our communities
  • Our prison system focuses on punishment rather than restoration
  • Re-arrest rate is high (92% for nonviolent re-arrests and 33% for violent re-arrests) (Gilligan and Lee).
  • Human costs of incarceration are high (unemployment, family structure fragmentation, additions, denial of civil rights after incarceration, etc)
  • Cost to taxpayers is high ($47,000 per prisoner per year in Massachusetts) 


Resolve to Stop Violence Project-- a program of peer-led psychodynamic/cognitive behavioral therapy which seeks to address cognitive distortions, grow empathy, and enable a stronger sense of control -- aspects of one's inner life that can contribute to violence towards others

Components of RSVP include:

  • ManAlive--peer-led cognitive behavioral therapy calling attention to cognitive distortions such as the "male role belief system"
  • Vitim's Impact -contact with people who have been victimized by violent crime as a mechanism for increasing empathy and for holding men accountable for crimes
  • Drama Program -- emphasizes a sense of control
  • Community Restoration -- provides opportunities for volunteer work/job skills/improves reality-based self esteem and coping skills
  • Addictions Counseling
  • The men reside in a 62-bed direct supervision dormitory and participate in programming for 12 hours per day, 6 days a week