Restorative Justice Programs
Restorative Justice is a theory of justice that emphasizes “meaningful justice” through victim-centered and victim-sensitive programming designed to repair the harm caused by criminal behavior. The Division of Victim Services is here to provide support, information and assistance to victims harmed by offenders in SCDC custody though Restorative Justice Programs including Victim Offender Dialogue, the Apology Letter Program, the Victim’s Speakers Bureau and the Impact of Crime program.
Victim Wraparound Program
The Victim Wraparound Program offers safety planning for victims whose offenders were sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act and are in prison or in the community under Intensive Supervision Services. A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that may include resource referrals that can help you stay safe and may help to reduce risk of future harm to a victim and their family. To learn more about the Victim Wraparound Program view our brochure here.
Violence Prevention Program
The Violence Prevention curriculum was designed with the goal of educating offenders within the South Carolina Department of Corrections on the topic of Violence to help change the perception of Violence through teachings on the different forms of violence and how they are strongly connected to each other. The focus is on understanding and addressing the interconnections among the forms, and why they may have been violent in the first place. Violence Prevention addresses topics related to violence, oppression, healthy relationships, and communication while developing skills to help within real life situations through a variety of approaches including Cognitive Behavioral concepts, Mindfulness, and Motivational Interviewing.
Victim Offender Dialogue Program (VOD)
The Victim Offender Dialogue program provides an opportunity for a face to face meeting between the victim/survivor and the offender in a safe setting with a trained facilitator present. Some victims want to participate in a dialogue to get answers that only the offender can provide while others want to convey the impact of the offender’s actions on their life. This process may be highly emotional and can only be initiated by the victim/survivor.
Participation in a dialogue is voluntary for both parties and either party may withdraw from the process at any time. A substantial commitment of time for preparation is required from both parties and the offender receives no special privileges for agreeing to participate. It does not impact their sentence, parole, or any other incarceration status.
Creative alternatives to mediation are also an option and typically include a letter written by the victim or a meeting conducted via a virtual platform such a s Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Google .
Victims/Survivors interested in learning more about the VOD program should visit the National Association of Victim Assistance in Corrections (NAVAC) website https://www.navac.website/vod.html. Victims/Survivors interested in pursuing a VOD should contact the Division of Victim Services at 1-800-835-0304.
Impact of Crime Program
The Impact of Crime program is a cognitive based program that is designed to foster empathy from offenders about victims and how they are impacted by crimes. It also holds offenders accountable for the choices they have made that negatively impact victims. The program utilizes victim/survivor speakers who enter the institutions and tell the offenders their stories of how they were impacted by a crime. Victim/survivor speakers are a very powerful part of the program. This program is facilitated by trained SCDC employees. The Impact of Crime Program is available at all SCDC institutions.
Victim Speakers Bureau
Apology Letter Program
Some offenders are remorseful for the harm they have caused others and seek to put into words acceptance of fault, responsibility and pain caused by their actions. An apology letter is a way for an offender to communicate, in writing, their understanding of the harm caused by their crime(s) and take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. An Offender may also share the positive things they have done and the steps they have taken to change their lives.
The South Carolina Department of Corrections has strict rules prohibiting offenders from directly contacting their victims. The Division of Victim Services acts as a conduit and will screen all apology letters to determine whether applicable contact rules, laws, or court orders prohibit the offender from contacting the victim. After the apology letter is screened and approved, the Division of Victim Services will inform the victim that a letter is available if current victim contact information is available. Letters written to victims by offenders remain on file in the office of Victim Services indefinitely, or until victims choose to receive them.
Battering Intervention Program (BIP)
Battering Intervention Program (BIP) is a trauma-focused program designed for individuals who have caused harm or used battering behavior in relationships. The program combines evidence-based approaches to transformational change based on a program that originated in Kansas, Family Peace Initiative (FPI). The approach is built on compassion, integrity and expertise combining Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral concepts, Rational-Emotive Behavioral concepts, Internal-Focused Dialogue, Polyvagal Theory, and Mindfulness. The goal of the South Carolina Department of Corrections’ Battering Intervention Program (BIP) is to create a culture of safety and cruelty-free accountability while building the skills necessary to heal and participate in non-violent, healthy relationships.