About Re-Entry Mediation

Louisiana continues to have one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. We also have high recidivism rate because of lack of long-term and sustainable supports. Ensuring that one’s health, mental health, and relationships are attended to are essential to a successful re-entry.

The Re-Entry Mediation Institute of Louisiana seeks to decrease recidivism rates and improve a person’s transition home from incarceration with the sustainable support of positive relationships with family and friends. While there are many wonderful re-entry programs taking place in Louisiana, many are missing the critical element of mental health, relationships, and self-determination.

Mediation sessions between an incarcerated person and their loved one (such as a parent, a spouse, a former pastor, an old neighbor, a former employer) takes place in a Department of Corrections facility six to twelve months before their return back home. Each session is facilitated by two professionally-trained neutral mediators. 

Mediation is a short-term intervention with long-term impact on mental health. Recidivism rates decrease with each mediation session. By rebuilding relationships between inmates and their loved ones, we tap into the resources indigenous to the community, strengthen these connections, and allow for collaborative transition planning. The process helps all people feel heard and understood and come up with their own solutions.

We expect to see recidivism rates decrease across our state. Mediation is a collaborative process that allows for both people to feel heard and understood and come up with their own solutions. It is based on self-determination and relies on the trust that people often know what they need and how to get it. Mediation harnesses the indigenous wisdom of the people closest to the pain because they are closest to their own solutions. Mediation provides a radical way of communicating to have hard conversations, clear the air, and make a plan collaboratively.

Criminal justice literature highlights the importance of strong relationships to support successful re-entry and to reduce recidivism. Reentry mediation responds to this need by providing an opportunity for an inmate and family members or other support people to meet, with the help of a non-judgmental mediator, before release to have an open, honest, and often difficult dialogue to prepare for the transition back into the community. Sometimes there is lingering conflict from before the incarceration. Sometimes there is resentment, anger, and shame as a result of the charge or things which took place during the incarceration.

Re-entry mediation creates a space for everyone involved to talk about their experiences, be heard by each other, and establish a plan on how to move forward productively before the individual is released. By rebuilding relationships between inmates and their loved ones, re-entry mediation taps into the resources indigenous to the community, strengthens these connections, and allows for collaborative transition planning, involving the inmate and their family members. The Re-Entry Mediation Institute of Louisiana creates a unique opportunity for a person who is incarcerated to sit down face-to-face with a loved one in a confidential space inside a correctional facility to make a plan about their own re-entry.