Finding Peace in Prisons: An Inside Outside Project
Ali-Mason, Nialena (Nia) T.
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The The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) was founded by Quakers and the models of their workshops are used across the globe in a variety of places including war-torn areas, red light districts and shelters for people with HIV. Due to the high rates of incarceration in the U.S. and the violent nature of prisons, AVP mostly works inside of prisons in the U.S. As an AVP intern I participated in workshops inside of correctional facilities throughout Massachusetts teaching non-violence strategies to inmates from all backgrounds. Many of the strategies and teaching tools used in the workshops focused on recognizing past traumas, unpacking childhoods, building community and finding inner peace. As an International Relations & Africana Studies major, this internship allowed me to engage with much of the material that I would discuss in my classes in a new way. I was able to see the material impacts of mass incarceration and make a difference in incarcerated citizens lives (which in turn benefits the families and communities that they will be returning to). The Alternatives to Violence Project increased my passion for justice, exposed me to other realities and made me more able to collaborate and effect change in different settings.