Two Sides of Justice is a collection of narratives from system survivors. The criminal justice system has altered the lives of the people whose stories you are about to hear, sometimes for the better but more often for the worse. Their contact with the system has permanently changed them and the trajectories of their lives. Their stories urge critical reflection about the ways the criminal justice system shapes the lives of individuals, families, communities, and our nation as a whole.
These stories speak to contradictions and weaknesses in a system engineered by humans in the context of white supremacy. And at the same time, these stories highlight robust resilience and deep-rooted faith in a concept of justice that supersedes what was enacted in their lives. Survivors participating in Two Sides of Justice generously and bravely share their stories in loving memory of individuals who have been lost to violence and in honor of those in prison for committing violent crimes. As listeners will hear, the stories of the narrators’ loved ones are inextricably tied to the narratives of their own lives.
In the end, the stories of Two Sides of Justice are not just about their family members or themselves. They are instead stories of the interwoven tapestry of human trial and triumph. This curriculum was designed to provide listeners with a template for deepening discussions about justice, violence, and healing. Using the curriculum as a guide, participants will develop an understanding of the criminal punishment system, as well as punitive, restorative, and transformative justice. Participants will also delve into imagining what healing can be for all people impacted by harm—including survivors, family and other loved ones, and people who cause harm.