Film Recommendation: “Healing Justice” available through World Trust Films

“As you watch this film you may experience
a range of powerful emotions.
Please know that you are not alone.
May our thoughts and feelings create fires
that ignite the gifts of learning,
healing, and transformation.
May we recognize and honor
the depth of our inter-connectedness.
May we nourish the flames
that burn away hatred and fear.
May we utilize these gifts to mend
ourselves and our communities.”

These words begin the film, “Healing Justice,” which has been recommended to us by a friend familiar with the Justice Conversation project. It is a good film for sharing with educators, law enforcement, judicial professionals, as well as non-profits. After viewing it, I also want to emphasize that it’s a good film for adults in the general public. For anyone who votes. For anyone who may at some point come into contact with our justice system. For you. I will add, though, that there is difficult emotional content, and it’s designed for adult audiences.

The film can be found here for individual watching for a low-cost rental fee, or the film can be purchased for institutional use here.  There is also a downloadable conversation guide at the later link.

Our recommendation came from Saundra Hodges, who is part of a group, “Peace and Pizza,” that meets monthly to have dinner, watch documentaries and listen to speakers. Forming local groups of this nature is a great way to connect with others and learn about what’s happening and what we can do to contribute to peace in our time.

“After seeing the film we felt optimism about the powerful potential for restorative justice, gained a better understanding of the nature of criminal behavior, and recognized the damage our criminal “justice” system usually does. It featured a program here in the East Bay, and showed how the practice of restorative justice can bring even violent offenders back into society while helping victims find ways to cope with their emotional pain and perhaps actually forgive.” – Saundra Hodges

After viewing it, I share in Saundra’s high praise of this film. It weaves together personal experiences of people who have been aided by restorative practices to turn their lives away from crime, with insights from people who have experience running restorative programs, and theatrical performance relating to the life experiences being described. It addresses victim needs, as well as the relationship between being a victim and becoming involved in criminal activity. It calls for a new way of understanding justice in the U.S. that better meets our needs and honors each other and our inter-connected nature. It also offers a practiced model for working towards that end.

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