By Councilmember David Grosso
Beginning this afternoon and continuing throughout the weekend, I will experience the Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) at Patuxent Institution in Jessup, Maryland. I will join inmate facilitators and other participants engaging together in the AVP workshops inside the prison.
The AVP program began in 1975 with a group named “Think Tank” who started an experimental program for youth at Green Haven Prison in New York. The group was compelled to provide nonviolence training in preparation for their roles as counselors. “Think Tank” then partnered with the Quaker Project on Community Conflict and created a prison workshop that is currently provided in seven institutions.
What led me to participate in this three day workshop in Patuxent is a desire to experience first-hand whether or not the AVP method can help in stemming the senseless violence in D.C. – from neighborhood beefs, to violence within our schools. Within the first two months of this year, the murder rate has doubled in D.C and as a community we must stand together to say enough is enough. The violence has to stop!
I will share with you my reflections on the AVP workshops. I look forward to your comments and working together to create a city that can embrace nonviolent conflict resolution as a standard practice.