McCormack Speaks

January 18, 2018
by McCormack Speaks
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Office of Public Collaboration, DOC Lead Pilot Project on Prisoner Re-entry Mediation

by the Massachusetts Office for Public Collaboration, McCormack Graduate School

image of handcuffsYou are within weeks of release from detention and looking forward to going home but the closer your release gets the harder it is to get on with your spouse. Visiting is now taken up with fights about living together and you are no longer sure you have a home to go to.

This is a typical scenario for prisoners approaching release and reflects the fact that for many prisoners, going back home may not be as straightforward as they hope. Bridges may have been burned, people on the outside moved on and there is no real understanding of the challenges each of them has faced during incarceration. This is one challenging re-entry area which had not previously been tackled until the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration (MOPC) approached MA Department of Correction (DOC) leadership towards the end of 2015.

Armed with the knowledge that the first 72 hours of release is a significant determinant or risk for re-incarceration, and the importance of building supportive relationships on the outside, MOPC worked closely with Community Mediation Maryland’s Lorig Charkoudian to develop skills and programming based on their successful Prisoner Re-entry Mediation Program in operation since 2007. MOPC invested in specialized training of mediators from its existing network of established statewide Community Mediation Centers and case coordinator staff who will do significant outreach, intake, and case coordination work around cases. Continue Reading →

February 15, 2017
by McCormack Speaks
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McCormack’s Community Mediation Grant Program Shows Large Return on Investment

"Solution" written on blackboardAs the state dispute resolution agency, the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration (MOPC), part of UMass Boston’s John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, awards annual state operating grants to 12 local community mediation centers statewide delivering services through trained volunteers. Each January, through a legislative briefing at the State House, MOPC reports back to state officials about the impact the public funding has made in providing conflict resolution services to local courts and communities.

Convened by Representative Sarah Peake and Senator Adam Hinds, the briefing was attended by more than 130 people who listened to students from middle and high schools in Fitchburg, Greenfield, Lawrence, and Lowell talk about helping to resolve conflict in their respective schools and what being a peer mediator has meant to them.

Read the entire news story on our website.

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