The Redemption Project with Van Jones is an 8-episode series providing a rare glimpse into the restorative justice process. Each episode follows the victim — or surviving family members — of a life-altering crime as they journey to meet face-to-face with the person who caused the harm in hopes of finding answers.
The series is incredibly moving, and opens viewers’ eyes to the human potential for redemption, understanding and healing — at a time when our divided society needs it most.
Episode: “Officer Down”
Van Jones travels to Bakersfield, CA to meet with Thomas Morgan, a former sheriff who was shot in the neck and left to die while responding to a call in 1997.
Episode: “Small Town Reckoning”
Van Jones travels to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin to meet with Michelle Walter, a mother whose son Nathan was killed in a tragic car accident.
Episode: “Left for Dead”
Van Jones travels to Sacramento to meet with Joshua “Gunner” Johnson, who has spent the last two decades struggling with PTSD and a spinal injury after being shot multiple times in 1994.
Episode: “Drive by Death”
Van Jones travels to Oakland to meet with Donald Lacy, an activist and comedian whose 16-year-old daughter, LoEshé, was murdered in a gang-related shooting.
Episode: “A Mother’s Justice”
Van Jones heads to Alaska to witness the first ever dialogue between a victim and an offender in the history of the Alaskan prison system.
Episode: “Life Forever Altered”
Van Jones travels to Metairie, Louisiana to meet the Stokes family whose daughter, Ashlee, suffered cognitive and physical impairment when a drunk driver hit her at the age of 15.
Episode: “Death of an American Dream”
Van Jones travels to Indiana to meet with Mario Jr. and Aldo Gonzalez, whose father Mario was shot and killed when he tried to stop a robbery in-progress.
Episode: “My Mother’s Murder”
In Los Angeles, Van Jones meets with Mariah Lucas, a 25-year-old mother of three whose own mother was murdered when Mariah was a toddler.
What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative justice seeks to heal the harm caused by crime.
Instead of focusing on retribution, it focuses on rehabilitation.
At its core, it is a process that offers both victims and those who caused harm an opportunity to seek answers and accountability to begin to repair the damage caused by crime.
Learn more from the Insight Prison Project, the Ahimsa Collective, the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, the Restorative Justice Project at the University of Wisconsin School of Law, the Healing Dialogue and Action organization or the Hawai’i Friends of Restorative Justice.
More from Van Jones
“Restorative justice shifts our understanding of crime and punishment and asks us to use a completely different logic. The goal is not to create more damage, but to create more healing — often through a dialogue between a crime survivor and the person who hurt them. The goal is not to add more pain, but to ameliorate as much pain as possible. At the end of the day, the goal is for all parties — and the community itself — to be restored to whatever degree of wellness and wholeness is possible. It seeks accountability from the trespasser, but ultimately healing for everyone involved.”
“The twisted irony of violent crime is that the two people involved — those who commit the heinous act, and those who survive — are connected for the rest of their lives. From the moment of the incident on, their life stories must always include that other person. But our current criminal justice system isn’t designed to acknowledge this reality. It serves to keep people on both sides of a crime completely separate as it weighs out the appropriate penalty. This system may deliver justice. What it might not do is heal.”
“Women are the fastest growing population in the US jail system,” CNN’s Van Jones says.