Alternatives to Violence

Alternatives to Violence (AVP) is an association of community, school, and prison-based groups offering experiential workshops in personal growth, community development, and creative conflict management. AVP, an international organization, came to Maryland Correctional Institute (MCI-H) in the summer of 1991 after a riot where both officers and inmates were killed and injured. Currently AVP is held in three Hagerstown prisons. Inmates voluntarily choose to attend a 3-day workshop led by pairs of outside volunteer facilitators who work with several inmate facilitators. The goal is to teach alternative ways of resolving conflict other than guns, knives, and fists.

Lora Byler and Thomas and Nancy Horst have been involved with this program for 16 years; Nancy also assists with Spanish bi-lingual groups. MCI-H has provided 199 Basic, 104 Advanced, and Training for Trainers (which enables inmates to become facilitators and help in conducting AVP workshops).