RESTORE is The Forgiveness Project’s award-winning, intensive group based intervention programme that supports prisoners in their process of change towards desistance from crime.

• RESTORE achieves this through a highly skilled facilitation team that includes both victims and perpetrators of crime.

• The Forgiveness Project has 16 years of experience in delivering RESTORE within the Criminal Justice System, reaching 3,300 participants inclusive of 185 prison officers.

“For most prisoners, time inside is simply an experience to be endured. So there is something extraordinary about a course, which sets out to ask prisoners to examine the most profound and difficult issues imaginable. In my view, RESTORE can start a process of personal reflection without which rehabilitation and restoration are impossible.”
Peter Dawson, Governor, HMP High Down (2007 – 2013)

RESTORE demonstrates the power of transformative dialogue and supports the experience of bearing witness to each other’s lived stories within a safe, and non-judgemental space. For this to be possible, The Forgiveness Project has created gender specific, trauma-informed programmes that meet the needs of both men and women.

The use of creative arts is embedded within all our delivery, providing a range of tools so that all participants can express themselves safely.

RESTORE uses narrative techniques that strengthen resilience and restorative thinking in those who have lived experience of trauma.

We also provide bespoke programmes for prison officers. These programmes aim to support positive relationships between peers and prisoners, and allow an enabling environment to flourish within the whole prison community.

Who is RESTORE for?


RESTORE works with up to 20 men in an intensive group process, over 4 full days.

RESTORE engages men in a place of intense reflection, and perspective taking that positively strengthens men’s resilience, self-awareness, accountability, agency and motivation to make reparations to those they have harmed.

RESTORE also supports all men who are seeking to begin a process of restorative justice by offering an in-depth engagement with restorative perspectives from those who have lived experience.

“There is really a lot to be said for the support that is generated in this program. It has been life changing for me. I have the power to steer my life in a much more positive direction.” — Participant, HMP Parc


RESTORE works with groups of 8-12 women over an intensive 6 week programme.

RESTORE develops skills and tools that positively strengthen women’s emotional competencies, self-awareness, self-expression and resilience. It increases women’s agency, accountability and motivation to make changes and enhances positive peer-to-peer, family and prison staff relationships.

“Since forgiveness I feel as though I am free. This might sound strange because I’m in prison but I mean mentally and emotionally I am free in my mind which is heaven for me.” — Participant, HMP Eastwood Park

Prison Officers

RESTORE has successfully worked with over 180 prison officers; as participants alongside prisoners, in training and awareness sessions and in specific RESTORE programmes adapted for officers.

RESTORE supports a humanising pathway for prison officers, their peers and prisoners to bridge the gaps of understanding and perspective taking, supporting positive relationships to form and increase an enabling environment within the whole prison community.

“Over the years I’ve tried to disassociate myself from their (prisoners) lives but hearing their stories, and sharing my own has really helped me to see the human connection between us all. — Prison Officer, HMP Peterborough

The evidence for RESTORE

An independent evaluation by the Forensic Psychological Services at Middlesex University (published in 2012) concluded that:

  • RESTORE has an impact on recidivism,
  • those who completed the programme had improved general attitudes to offending, were less likely to anticipate re-offending, and less likely to evaluate crime as worthwhile,
  • RESTORE was shown to have impact on short and long term offenders, as well as prolific offenders and violent offenders.

Statistics from our evaluation feedback surveys indicate that:

  • 98% of participants complete the whole course,
  • 42% of participants request further exploration into restorative justice conferencing,
  • 33% of participants volunteer to become peer supporters for future programmes.

Click here to read all evaluations of RESTORE.

[RESTORE] captures the most hard to reach women, engaging them when every other activity [or] intervention has failed. The difference in attitudes and behaviour the programme can initiate is huge – the biggest I have seen from any other intervention.
Amy Rogers, Activities Hub Manager, HMP Eastwood Park


The Longford Prize 2014

“Having highly commended The Forgiveness Project in 2007, the judges this year award it the Longford Prize to salute the development of its work, especially its innovative and challenging Restore offender intervention programme. This is having a real and proven impact on changing how those prisoners who take part in jails around the country think about themselves and their crime.

The Forgiveness Project, now in its tenth year, lives out in a practical, effective way the core belief of Lord Longford in every individual’s potential for rehabilitation. It is making a significant contribution to reducing reoffending as well as having a wider impact in creating a more positive commitment in our criminal justice system to restorative justice.”

Highly Commended by the Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Rehabilitation 2013

“The popularity of the RESTORE programme with prisoners and prison staff is a testament to its impact. Through hearing the personal stories of victims and former offenders, prisoners develop empathy and understanding of the impact of their behaviour on themselves and others which, in turn, inspires them to break the cycle of vengeance.” — Janet Wallsgrove, Governor, HMP and YOI Parc