Stories from the Field

 

All photos on this page illustrate stories found in Dreams from the Monster Factory, which is a call to action and highlights the coming together of all those harmed by violence: victim, offender and our community.

Survivor impact presentations are intended to provide offenders an opportunity to hear the experience of people who are survivors of violence acts that are similar to those they have committed. During these classes, the speaker shares their own pain as part of their healing process. The presentations also promote participant empathy by providing inmates insight into how violence affects the victim and his or her family, friends and neighbors. These presentations are a good opportunity for prisoners to learn ways to repair the harm they have caused by their violence.

 

Jean O’Hara

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The San Francisco Sheriff's department RSVP program, under the leadership of Sheriff Michael Hennessey, incorporates victim impact, offender accountability, and community involvement to reduce violence and recidivism, and to responsibly return ex-offenders to their communities, creating opportunities for restoration.

The photos below are from the RSVP in-jail program, also known as the Offender Restoration Program. Each year we require approximately 300 men to participate in an intensive in-jail curriculum where men develop an understanding of the consequence of violence for victims.This program changes the men's beliefs about the male role behavior that causes violence. Prisoners participate up to 12 hours a day, five days a week, in violence prevention groups, relapse prevention, education, victim empathy and restoration.

 

RSVP Program

Jean O'Hara, who's daughter and grandson were murdered, is seen here presenting in RSVP's weekly survivor impact class.

Men in manalive groups learning about their destruction cycle. These groups help participants explore the roots of their violence as well as gain the tools necessary to stop it.

 

"Strike Out Violence Day", an annual event since 1997, marries critical social issues with America's favorite pastime, baseball! This first in the nation partnership between a major league baseball team, law enforcement, and a national domestic violence agency, is dedicated to bringing together public awareness and resources to stop violence in our homes and in our community.

 

The genesis of Strike Out Violence day comes from the San Francisco Sheriff's Department's nationally recognized violence prevention program called Resolve to Stop the Violence Project (RSVP). As highlighted in Dreams from the Monster Factory, RSVP is a restorative justice program which recognizes that crime hurts everyone: victim, offender and community, and further creates the obligation to make things right. The San Francisco Giants have been satisfying their community obligation, as each year Strike Out Violence day is dedicated to community support for Victims and Survivors, as well as Offenders who have stopped their violence and given back to communities that they have harmed. The San Francisco Giants and the Sheriff's Department have both been stellar in their work to stop violence.  These photos underscore their commitment in restoring dignity to individuals and in our communities.

 

Strike out violence day

Strike Out Violence Day pre-game ceremony

 

Ruth Morgan, Executive Director of RSVP collaborator Community Works West, is an accomplished photographer who has been using art as a tool for social change since the 1970's. Ruth created the "Record Breakers" series of posters and is credited with the photos featured on this page. The "Record Breakers" epitomize the triumph of the spirit and what can be achieved through enormous work: changing the monster factory to a place where offenders can learn to become pro-social citizens. Other featured photos include: offenders participating in manalive classes and victims of violence sharing their stories in jail-based Survivor Impact presentations.

 

Ruth Morgan

 

This photo is from the theater production of Uncommon Grounds where former offenders and survivors developed a powerful production to raise awareness of violence and concrete solutions to stopping it. Expressive Arts participants learn to fade the male role superior image that they have learned and ways to express their feelings and needs in a nonviolent manner.

 

Uncommon Grounds