In this Opinion Piece, Fred describes his experience of reading Dr Donna Hicks’s book, Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict (2011) and explains the impact of the text upon his perception and experience of time in custody.
As Fred explains, a meaningful understanding of ‘dignity – of our intrinsic worth as human beings – can valuably inform restorative justice research and practice. In this far-reaching and ruminative reflection, Fred addresses several concerns that affect both our personal experiences of injustice and those we witness within the institutions of which we may be part:
How do we understand the harm we can cause to others, and in turn comprehend the harm that is done to us?
Does the fact of causing another person harm justify the removal of that person’s dignity?
How can we account of each other’s ability to cause harm, and pursue forms of justice that reject a will to retribution?
By meaningfully addressing questions such as these, Fred asserts that we might begin to heal, transform and restore the losses caused by injustice on every level.
In turn, Fred reflects on the contributions made by organisations like Let’s Circle Up (LCU), who facilitate opportunities for restorative justice education in Graterford Prison, Pennsylvania. As a participant in LCUs workshops, Fred explores the potential of restorative justice to empower individuals to be accountable, empathetic and actively support the restoration of damaged relationships – whether personal or among the wider community.