The Congregation at Duke University Chapel

Faithful Responses to Violence and Mass Incarceration

For the ears, you can listen to an audio recording [high fidelity audio playable under all personal computer operating systems via VLC media player, Microsoft Windows Media Player with the codecs for FLAC et al, OS X QuickTime with the XiphQT plugin, etc., on many Android-based mobile devices, and on iOS-based mobile devices via apps such as FLAC Player or Golden Ear]

Faithful Responses to Violence and Mass Incarceration

presentation at Adult Forum by
Ben Haas, Executive Director, and Drew Doll, Reconciliation and Reentry Coordinator
Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham
along with
The Rev. Bruce Puckett
Director of Worship and Community Ministry, Duke University Chapel
Ira Mueller and Jim Wisner
Congregation members
April 22, 2018

Faith Teams

Our work is based on two core values:

Infinite Belonging
Endless Compassion

Our Mission Statement:

To substantially reduce the risk of future violence in our community by being friends and companions to released individuals as they integrate with the community and lead responsible, productive and accountable lives.

Why We Work:

At its heart, a Circle is a covenantal relationship. The community volunteers and the partner of the Circle commit to live in accountability to one another, to support and walk daily with one another. This reduces the Partner's isolation and secrecy, which correspondingly reduces the likelihood of a re-offense.

What Does the Covenant Contain?

  1. A commitment to being with one another. We are not trying to fix one another, we are only seeking to walk together in love, openness and accountability to each other.
  2. Confidentiality. Generally what happens in the circle stays in the circle except:
    1. Imminent Danger of Harm to Partner or Community: Call 911
    2. Reasonable grounds to believe the partner is in breach of his/her legal conditions or there is a risk to the Community or Partner
      1. Call an emergency meeting with the Partner to discuss the issue.
      2. When working with a Partner on supervision, we agree that decisions regarding breaches of legal conditions are the final discretion of the parole officer.
      3. Concerns should be reported to the appropriate authority preferably by the Partner.
  3. Housekeeping: Meeting times and locations, Volunteer / Core Member contacts, etc.

What Do We Do?

graphic representation of inner and outer circles

The Inner Circle:

  • 4 to 6 Community Volunteers
  • Partner (Person returning from prison)

Outer Circle

  • Supervision (Probation / Parole)
  • Service Providers
    • Housing
    • Employment / Job Training
    • Mental Health / Substance Abuse
    • Wider Community Representatives

The Inner Circle:

  • Meets on a regular schedule for an hour to an hour and a half.
  • During the week volunteers have a conversation with the Partner.

Outer Circle

  • Provides services to the Partner (and volunteers) as needed.
  • Provides guidance and sets policy for the program.
  • Provides a conduit into the community.

How Do We Know We Work?

Over the last 15 years Partners with the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham has re-offended at a rate of 11%, compared with 50%-60% for the general population.

Next Steps:

If I want to know more:

We hold training sessions for interested faith communities and community groups. Have someone from your community contact us.

If I'm interested in really knowing more, or possibly volunteering:

Contact our Coordinator, Drew Doll @ 919.228.0997 or [email protected].