Bridges to life: Evaluation of an in-prison restorative justice intervention

Marilyn Peterson Armour, John Sage, Allen Rubin, Liliane C. Windsor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Restorative justice initiatives have been identified as primarily, if not exclusively, useful as a "front-end" diversionary option reserved for non violent property crimes and minor assaults. In-prison restorative justice programs are rare and have not been examined for their impact on recidivism. Bridges to Life (BTL) is a voluntary, manualized, ecumenical faith-based restorative justice program offered to incarcerated offenders who are within nine months of their release. A survey of BTL graduates (n=1021) found an appreciatively lower recidivism rate than the general population of released inmates. Quantitative and qualitative analyses suggest that BTL helps break through offenders' denial and self-centeredness, exposing them to the impact of their actions and helping them feel the pain their crimes created. Possible reasons for the positive nature of participants' responses are advanced. The use of in-prison restorative justice programs to facilitate offender re-entry is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-851
Number of pages21
JournalMedicine and Law
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Crime victims
  • Faith-based
  • Pre release
  • Prison program
  • Recidivism
  • Restorative justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Law


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