This past weekend I attended my third AVP training. AVP stands for Alternatives to Violence Project. Quakers helped start it in 1975 in the New York State prison system, in response to an inmate group’s request in Greenhaven Prison for training in non-violence. From then on, peace-minded people committed to the process, with the support of the
Quakers and others, have been running the program in prisons, but also in communities, schools, or wherever violence and conflict has found a hold–which is just about everywhere in society.Some examples where workshops have occurred are in battered women’s shelters, homeless shelters, families of prisoners, and among gang members. Another outgrowth of AVP is community mediation.
For some time now I have wanted to work in prisons. Since I’m a writer, I had considered facilitating a writing group. Through AVP I found just the group I wanted, promoting peace and strategies for defusing violence in ourselves and others.
In future blogs I’m going to describe the training and share what I will be learning in the prisons (while strictly observing confidentiality, of course).