Executive Director’s Message Winter 2006, Volume 7, Number 1

There is a better way for men released from prison today

 

H

ope and safety were the recurring themes of our July conference on returning prisoners to their families and to their communities with assurance that abusive behavior is no longer a threat. This hope is based on the belief that real change can occur among some men if prisoners are provided with the right kinds of support during their prison stays and afterwards.

We don’t often get the opportunity to hear from men who have done the work and gotten on the path to transformation. We need to know what we can learn from them. However, since we can’t always predict who will be successful in the change process, we want to be clear that hope that someone will change is not a reason for women to stay in a dangerous relationship.

People who exhibit abusive behavior can change, but it requires intentional intervention. To increase the possibility that change can occur, there are modifications that we need to make in our criminal justice system, parole programs and community services.

This issue of Assembling the Pieces recaps what experts on safe return of prisoners to communities have to say on this topic and features our dynamic keynote speaker Hurricane Carter, who points out that we were not born “angry, prejudiced, hateful or filled with other illusions.” He advises his fellow African Americans to “take that jacket off.”

Our next conference

We’re already planning our next annual conference. The focus of that event will be Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence in the African-American Community. It will be in Atlanta this winter. See the back cover of this newsletter and our web site for more details.

These conferences are rare opportunities for all of us dedicated to ending domestic violence in the African- American community to share our stories and solutions. We know you have a lot to contribute. And we look forward to seeing you there.

 
Oliver

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