Making Amends

Making Amends

How do we atone for the worst thing we’ve ever done? Many prisoners at the Oregon State Penitentiary wrestle with this question every day. In this 8-part series, they share their stories with Steve Herbert.

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December 21, 2020 2 min

How do we atone for the worst thing we’ve ever done? Many prisoners at the Oregon State Penitentiary wrestle with  this question every day. In this 8-part series, they share their stories with Steve Herbert, describing how they strive to make amends in an age of mass incarceration.

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Violence was a constant in the lives of both Anthony and Theron, starting at a very young age. Once in prison, they began to question their allegiance to their gangs and their reliance on violence. What motivated that introspection and change?

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For many prisoners, remorseful thoughts of their victims motivate a drive toward atonement. Terrence and Moustafa describe how their regret propels them to be better people. 

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December 27, 2020 27 min

Inside of prison, finding and walking the right path is not always easy.  Cameron and Steve wanted to become different people, but had to overcome the culture of prison violence to do so.

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Learning how to understand and control your own emotions is an important step toward atonement.  But that’s not so simple in the hyper-masculine world of prison. 

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To recognize that one has done wrong often motivates a desire to do right.  Prisoners seeking to atone try to do good works in an environment where positivity is not usually celebrated.  

 

This episode includes guest speakers Shadd Maruna, professor at Queen’s University Belfast, and Dan McAdams, professor at Northwestern University. 

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What debts do we owe after committing a crime?  How does one repair the moral fabric after a serious wrong?  The men describe the importance of repentance to them, and how they try to make that real in their everyday actions.  

 

Lisa Radzik, professor at Texas A&M University, explores the moral obligations we incur after causing harm.

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December 27, 2020 25 min

To make amends requires accepting responsibility for the harm you’ve caused.  But in an adversarial legal process, how easy is it to take accountability for criminal wrongs, especially in the age of mass incarceration?    

 

Professor Katherine Beckett from the University of Washington is featured, to help us better understand the history of mass incarceration. 

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How can convicted criminals fully appreciate the impact of their actions?  If that might involve communication with their victims, how can that occur?  Can American prisons embrace the principles of restorative justice, and help create communities where remorse can be expressed and genuine change facilitated?

 

Professors Katherine Beckett (University of Washington) and Linda Radzik (Texas A&M University) share their perspe...

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