Innovative prison systems in countries like Norway and Denmark are demonstrating the power of restorative justice for reforming our criminal systems. Restore Oakland, a center in Oakland, is adopting principles of rehabilitation and community strength to end the cycle of mass incarceration in their city and beyond.
The center, completed in 2019, is jointly owned by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, a restorative justice non-profit, and Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an organization working toward better wages and conditions in the restaurant industry. It provides a meeting space for community groups, specifically advocates resources for the previously incarcerated, including housing, employment, and family support groups.
The spaciously designed building has an open floor plan focused on equitable infrastructure. Restore Oakland hopes the building will serve as a “resource village” to provide previously incarcerated individuals with the resources to come to terms with and move on from their time in prison. A few weeks ago we shared a story about historically low youth crime rates. Innovative programs like Restore Oakland are instrumental in creating the institutional changes required to facilitate these changes in the crime rate.