Restorative Justice

Transforming individuals, victims, and communities divided by the criminal justice system

About 

Art is the thread that connects all Restorative Justice projects and programs, uniting neighbors who have been affected by crime or violence through shared creative expression. The program facilitates the forging and growth of strong, positive bonds between incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, or at-risk individuals and their respective communities. We place a strong emphasis on work readiness with our Guild program and give creative voice to people who have consistently felt disconnected from society.

Current inmates, probationers, parolees, and adjudicated juveniles are given the opportunity to learn new skills and make a positive contribution to their communities, to repair the prior harm they may have caused. They receive art instruction, work on new murals, and perform other community service work, and their constructive contributions help to shift community perceptions.

Restorative Justice participants often feel empowered by their accomplishments and emerge with a newfound sense of pride in their own abilities and enhanced employment readiness skills. Their finished artworks provide everyone with significant reminders of how far they have come, highlighting a hopeful path forward.

I went from being a number and an inmate to being covered in paint, doing something that I love to do, and giving back in a positive way.

Amira Mohamed, Guild participant and subject of Shepard Fairey’s Open Source project Read More
90%

90% of graduates in our Guild re-entry apprenticeship program are not reincarcerated within one year of program completion

500

The program works with over 300 adults and 200 juveniles every year

44.7 million

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections could save approximately $44.7 million annually by reducing its one-year reincarceration rate by 10 percentage points

What is Restorative Justice? 

Restorative justice is an alternative to traditional means of rehabilitation and punishment. It brings together offenders, victims, and community members, focusing on conversation and understanding as the first steps on the path to healing. Mural Arts’ Restorative Justice program operates within that framework, designing projects that aim to restore and rebuild communities affected by crime, to maintain inclusivity and sensitivity for victims, and to reduce the current recidivism rate.

Who supports Restorative Justice? 

Mural Arts engages in collaborations with numerous government and nonprofit agencies, including:

  • City of Philadelphia Youth Violence Reduction Partnership
  • Pennsylvania Prison Society
  • Philadelphia Department of Human Services
  • Philadelphia Prison System
  • St. Gabriel’s System
  • State Correctional Institution at Graterford