Making the Connection Between Grief and Incarceration

Did you know?

  • Experiencing multiple severe losses can be a strong factor leading to incarceration.
  • Our prison system, instead of addressing loss, increases the number of losses, depression, and grief issues.
  • By addressing people's needs following a loss instead of punishing the symptoms, incarceration and recidivism can be reduced.

The “Transforming Grief/Moving Towards Justice: Preventing and Reducing Incarceration” conference, to be held in Oakland and Berkeley, California on April 12 and 13, will explore all of these points. 

In particular, we’ll focus on ways communities have responded to their needs rather than buying into the system that labels, addresses symptoms only, and denies them their humanity.

Come learn with us and have the opportunity to share, engage and reflect on your own experiences.

Goals of the Conference

A guiding principle of the Transforming Grief/Moving Towards Justice conference is to place ourselves at the feet of those who’ve been historically oppressed and learn what they have to teach us. 

Other goals of the conference:

  • Build solidarity for and gain understanding of the importance and relevance of honoring grief for safe communities.
  • Introduce recent research from experts working with incarcerated youth showing a correlation between unresolved grief and addiction issues and violent behavior.
  • Foster public awareness about how supporting the grieving process and supporting jail and prison ministry programs can make a positive impact in reducing recidivism.
  • Highlight how religion and spiritual practice impacts mental and physical health and wellbeing. 

Who Should Come

Issues of multiple severe loss impact communities in various ways, as well as the work of the clergy, chaplains, educators, and nonprofits who serve them.

Even if these service providers have no direct connection to jail/prison ministry, it is important to have an understanding of how loss and grief factors intersect with historical trauma in the lives of youth and adults who experience marginalization, homelessness, mental illness, and poverty.  

What You’ll Be Doing and Learning

Join us Friday, April 12, for key presentations by RJOY (Restorative Justice for Oakland), Native American Wellness Center, and Growing Through Loss on how to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of our youth and adults in at-risk environments rather than exacerbating loss and continued symptoms of trauma.

You will also have opportunities to engage through Q & A and small group sessions for reflection and formation of next steps. 

On Saturday, April 13, choose from two separate evidence-based programs, both proven effective in preventing and reducing recidivism:

  • RJOY will teach facilitation of the Peacemaking Circle model, applicable in many environments.  Participants in this training will also receive an overview of the history and theory of Restorative Justice, particularly as applied to urban youth who experience multiple and severe loss.
  • Growing Through Loss will teach participants how to lead a group through the "Growing Through Loss" program, which was developed upon the recognition that many youth entering the correctional system had experienced multiple losses prior to incarceration.

Get full conference details and register