Alumna's work promoting peace in prison subject of California Bar Journal profile
Alumna Laurel Kaufer was recently profiled in a California Bar Journal series about lawyer's improving their communities for her work doing mediation training for prison inmates. Excerpt:
Los Angeles lawyer-mediator Laurel Kaufer said she was intrigued by a desperate plea for free help from a woman housed at the maximum-security Valley State Prison in Chowchilla, but she knew she couldn’t do it alone. The woman had written to mediators throughout the state explaining that she was part of a group of inmates who wanted to learn ways to diffuse conflicts before they erupted into violence. In all Kaufer’s years of teaching mediation, she said no one had ever requested training for the sole purpose of making a community a better place. But for this woman, there was no other possible benefit because she was serving a life sentence without possibility of parole.
Kaufer immediately called fellow mediator Douglas Noll, who lives near Fresno, and read him the letter. He agreed to join her, and over the next six months, the pair devised a curriculum in peacemaking, communication and mediation. In 2010, they launched Prison of Peace. Since then, more than 150 inmates have taken the training, including 12 who’ve completed an intensive two-year certification course to train other inmates.