I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my instructor from last semester was famous. OK, she is not Hollyweird famous, but she is on You Tube–that’s got to count for something, eh? Anyway, Alana Abramson was the very first person who planted the seeds in me for taking a proactive journey into the the world of restorative justice, and because of her I actually started practicing through volunteer programs in Corrections Canada doing restorative justice programs. She was going into prisons to work with the inmates as they start their reintegration back into the community, and I thought that was so cool.
In a way Alana is somewhat of a pioneer in British Columbia because of her academic profession and passion for helping people through these restorative Justice programs. She started some of the first full time programs that deal with offenders who are in the halfway-house programs.
I first met her back in 2003-4 through some workshops that she was teaching called Alternatives to Violence Programs (AVP), kind of an variant of restorative justice that works specifically with just the inmate population upon being released. I attended and sat in some of her sessions that she worked on in the Ferndale Correctional facility in Mission, British Columbia, and saw first hand what she was doing. So it had been four years since I last seen her.
At a last minute cancellation at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, then it was just a college, Alana took over for one of the profs who took sick, so I had her as instructor for my Class on Young Offenders last term. I think she blew a lot of students away when she walked into the classroom. First, she looks very young. Second, she is very energetic and passionate about restorative justice. Finally, she knows her stuff–she is an M.A. with honours from S.F.U. (Simon Fraser University).
Through Alana’s connections and friends we got to visit the Youth Correctional Facility in Burnaby, British Columbia, the old Welland prison for Women, and she brought many guest speakers into the classroom who gave us first hand lecturers on some of the aspects of youth crime and insights into those worlds. So here she is giving a lecture on Restorative Justice:
What do you think about Restorative Justice after hearing Alana’s video clip?