About Re-Entry Mediation
Louisiana continues to have some of the highest incarceration rates and recidivism rates in the world. 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.
Mediation sessions create 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.
What is Re-Entry Mediation?
An incarcerated person and their loved one (such as a parent, a spouse, a former pastor, an old neighbor, a former employer) meet with two professionally-trained neutral mediators for sessions in the incarcerated person’s Department of Corrections facility six-to-twelve months before their return back home.
Mediators facilitate open, honest, and often difficult dialogue by creating 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 release.
REMILA provides jobs for formerly incarcerated people and other directly impacted people to serve as mediators by providing a professional 50-hour mediation training program with monthly in-service trainings and an apprenticeship program.
While there are many wonderful re-entry programs in Louisiana, many miss this critical intersection of mental health, relationships, and self-determination that these mediation sessions are specifically designed to include.
Why is Re-Entry Mediation critical?
Criminal justice literature highlights the importance of strong relationships to support successful re-entry and to reduce recidivism. 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.
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. Mediation is a short-term intervention with long-term impact on mental health and recidivism rates decrease with each mediation session.