The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) is a multicultural 501(c)3 organization offering exclusively-experiential workshops that empower individuals to lead peaceful lives through affirmation, respect for all, community building, cooperation, and trust. Our fundamental belief is that there is a power for peace and good in everyone, and that this power has the ability to transform violence. AVP builds on a spiritual base of respect and caring for self and others, working both in prisons and with groups in the community.
Initial AVP workshop agendas were designed in collaboration with inmates of Greenhaven Prison, thus the workshops are offered in teams made up of trained volunteers from inside and outside the prison. Research has shown that these 20-hour weekend workshops have reduced violence in individuals by up to 60% (the younger the prisoner the more dramatic change) and that three years after release the recidivism(return to prison rate) of workshop participants is reduced by 40%. The changes in individuals are reflected in a reduction in the prison's level of violence...clearly the most satisfying work a volunteer can experience.
Would you recommend Alternatives to Violence Project California?
I did a workshop in the SF Jail and was amazed at the creative power of the men. I left much more inspired than when I went in. My level of hope for our justice system increased when I actually met the men and participated in a workshop with them. Although violations of our society have been made it doesn't make them less human and that if we treat them with humanity their return will be much more successful and beneficial to our society.