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Man-to Man, Woman-to Woman (M2W2) Prisoner Visitation
WHAT IS M2/W2?
M2/W2 is a program of Restorative Justice Ministries, which is supported by the Mennonite Central Committee, Alberta. M2/W2 stands for Man-to-Man, Woman-to-Woman. This is a visitation program involving volunteers from the “outside” and their matches on the “inside.” M2/W2 believes that one-to-one relationships are vital for personal growth and change for everyone. By becoming involved, we invite people to better understand the issues of incarceration from both within and without the prison walls.
Most of our M2/W2 volunteers commit to visit a prisoner once a month on a one-to-one basis, within a group setting. Our volunteers come from the Christian faith community and are motivated by their commitment and call to follow Christ's example of love and reconciliation toward one another. They care about people on the inside and their families on the outside. Volunteers submit applications to the M2/W2 Coordinator and are interviewed to determine whether or not they are compatible with the program.
WHAT WE OFFER
Friendship is the basis of M2/W2. As a faith-based program, we do not work for the government. Our volunteers don’t intend to be counselors, pastors, employers, or landlords with their respective matches. We do hope that our volunteers will provide encouragement, respect, and acceptance in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Having a sponsor will not necessarily increase chances for parole, passes or institutional privileges. It is our hope, however, that relationships established during incarceration will continue to be supportive when the prisoner is released. We also train our volunteers based on the principles of restorative/transformative justice – a healing response to crime.
WHAT WE EXPECT
We expect this relationship to lead to a friendship that includes mutual honesty. We hope that a meaningful two-way friendship can result in greater understanding of, and support in dealing with, the struggles of incarceration – both for offenders and for their families. The degree to which a person wants to disclose personal information is completely up to her/him. We hope that the lives of both the prisoner and the volunteer/visitor will be transformed by this experience.
WHO IS IT FOR
We serve men and women in federal prisons in Alberta who have at least six months left to serve at the point of being matched with a volunteer. We currently have M2/W2 Coordinators at Bowden, Drumheller, Edmonton Institution for Women, and the Edmonton Max. Our priority is with those who do not receive regular visits and/or have long sentences. Prisoners may request to be part of the program by completing an application and being interviewed by the M2/W2 Coordinator.