Photo: Chris Mottalini

Quilting as a form of rehabilitation for prisoners may seem unorthodox, even beyond the pale, but really it doesn’t surprise me. It’s been put in place at Jefferson City Correctional Center, Missouri.

I was intrigued impressed by how the practice was described by this UTNE Reader article:

They quilt, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. five days a week, as part of a program called restorative justice, an ancient practice turned curriculum that equates a crime committed with a debt to be repaid. The world was introduced to elements of it by South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which sought to heal the wounds of apartheid through conversation and confrontation between the victims of human rights violations and the perpetrators. In the past decade, restorative justice programs, which promote similar dialogues and reparative activities like quilting and gardening, have emerged in prisons and communities across America.

Restorative justice, which focuses on the victims needs, is potentially the sharp-end of a positive trend that deals with the emotional repercussions of crime, beyond simple notions of retribution … and its widespread implementation might just drive down US prison populations.

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Photographer, Chris Mottalini‘s other work can be viewed at