The goal of Longtermers Responsibility Project is to facilitate a process through which people who have committed homicide-related offenses and are serving long sentences in NYS prisons, can investigate their specific responsibility in their crime, the rippling impact of their crime and their remorse for the harm they have caused. The process involves creating an opportunity for participants to develop their life narrative and increase insight about their lives both before and during incarceration and to look at the crime within the context of their life experiences.
This program has two components – group and individual tracks. The group track utilizes the curriculum, “Coming to Terms.” This curriculum spans 15 weeks, during which the concepts of self insight, responsibility (specifically for one’s crime and more generally for one’s life), the experience of victims of crime, remorse and apology, and making amends are covered. These concepts are explored via group interaction and exercises, peer modeling and writing assignments through which participants develop a narrative of their crime that reflects greater personal responsibility. These activities develop their capacity for experiencing and articulating remorse which promotes healing, and deeper understanding for the harm participants have caused through their actions. It also involves discussing their strengths and creating ways to both make amends and to give back to society. The individual component assists longtermers approaching parole hearings through a similar process delivered by a trained practitioner on a one-to-one basis, and includes discharge planning, a parole packet, and some legal assistance.
Participants attend each of 15 weekly sessions and participate, write in a journal, and complete and share with the entire group weekly writing exercises. These exercises include but are not limited to examining one’s life; a detailed description of the crime and the role of the participant, a description of the harm done to the direct victim of the crime, their family, friends and community; the harm done to the family of the participant, a letter of apology; a possible plan for making amends and for service to the community. A major goal of the curriculum is to foster participants’ understanding of their behavior in the crime in the full context of their lives and their influence, positive and negative, on others. A guest visitor includes a person who has been the victim of a crime.
For information on this project, please contact
Executive Vice President