Quaker Prison Ministry: A Follow-up

Hybrid service – in person and on Zoom

Speakers: Terry Kayser, Ph.D. and David Islam

Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) was initiated by US Quakers in 1975 in response to requests for help from inmates in Greenhaven Prison, New York. It is based on the belief that everyone has inside himself or herself the creative power to find non-violent ways of reacting to conflict situations. AVP groups use workshops to help people build the capacity to find alternatives to violence. All participants come voluntarily to these workshops – compulsion, even in prison settings, would be out of keeping with the AVP approach.

In 1992, AVP Minnesota began offering workshops in alternatives to violence to inmates at the Stillwater correctional institute in Bayport, Minnesota.

Dr. Kayser discovered AVP in 1995. He realized, after viewing a video of incarcerated youth produced by Bill Moyers, that there is another way to deal with offenders. He now facilitates AVP in two state prisons, a federal prison, and a county correctional facility. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota.

David Islam, a former inmate, was an early volunteer for the program. After completing the three levels of AVP workshops in Stillwater, he became a facilitator joining the team to offer AVP workshops to other inmates.

Subsequently, David was transferred to a lower-level facility in Faribualt, Minnesota, and then was released from custody in 2022. David will share his experience with AVP as one who has made it a basis of his life.