The BTL Program and How It Works
Bridges To Life is a volunteer-led restorative justice program conducted in prisons and alternative facilities, utilizing a unique 14-week curriculum focused on victim impact. A "project" is the BTL term for each incidence of our 14-week program in any facility. BTL conducted 213 projects in 2019!
Over the course of each 14-week BTL project, volunteers meet weekly with inmate participants inside the prison unit. Using our Restoring Peace book and study guide, volunteer facilitators guide their groups through the BTL curriculum, which is centered on responsibility, repentance, and restitution.
In addition to the study of these concepts, the BTL process includes the critical step of crime victim volunteers sharing the story of their crime experience. In this way, offenders hear firsthand how criminal actions affect not only the victims, but the families and friends of those victims, as well as society at large. This unique "victim impact" approach sparks empathy in offenders, the first step in accepting responsibility for their actions.
Bridges To Life instills hope and change in the hearts of offender participants and embraces victims of crime, promoting healing on both sides. As a result of participation in the program, offenders are more likely to demonstrate that they have been rehabilitated once they are back in mainstream society by paying taxes, supporting their families, and contributing to their communities, rather than being a financial and emotional liability. The following quote from a BTL graduate summarizes the impact of the BTL program:
“Bridges To Life has helped me to change the way that I view crime and how it affects the victims as well as our own families. Because of the testimony of the victims that visited my unit, I will never be the same. I’ve taken a lot of classes in the system during my 12 years of incarceration, and none has had the impact on me like BTL.”