Victim Impact’s first graduating class at High Desert State Prison.

By Lt. Gregory Crowe, AA/PIO
High Desert State Prison

On Thursday, July 13, the inaugural class of Victim Impact graduated at High Desert State Prison. Victim Impact is a Department of Justice program geared toward helping prisoners to become more aware of how their crimes impacted their victims.

The coursework also encourages them to take responsibility for their actions and to move toward making amends.  Victim Impact is an advanced Inmate Leisure Time Activity Group.

The curriculum can stir deep emotions and requires looking at things in ways that can make you feel uncomfortable at times, especially when they begin to understand how much their crimes have impacted others.  It also takes a new type of courage to see life where you can move from an uncaring and self-centered perspective – where you didn’t even think about how you hurt others – to genuinely creating a place of greater empathy.

The course creates increased awareness by putting the prisoners in the victim’s shoes.  As they move within the expanded impact of crime on family, friends, and the community at large, it clearly shows how they made an impact on society and not in a good way and how they can now purposely choose to never create another victim again.

Warden M. Eliot Spearman strongly encourages the men under his custody and care to take responsibility for their actions, which caused their incarceration.

“Offenders taking responsibility for their actions is the first step in self-rehabilitation, is congruent with our HDSP Mission and Vision Statements, and goes along with our strategy to effect Restorative Justice amongst the offenders at HDSP.  I truly appreciate the Leadership of Ms. Jenkins with this group of offenders,” he said.