Jan De Cock: Tea party with perpetrators and victims

Jan De Cock: Tea party with perpetrators and victims

Jan De Cock: Tea party with perpetrators and victims

Do you think human beings are “makeable”? Is a terrorist born a terrorist? Can you change people’s minds, and is this the task of the individual or of the community?
By spending one year in prisons voluntarily, Jan De Cock went on a search for the human face of detainees. His stories tell about the man that saved the life of the widow of the man he murdered, of how a thief shared the little food he received in prison with all of his fellow inmates, of how a woman found peace in forgiving the man who killed her daughter.
Jan acknowledges the evil the prisoners have done, and the legal system, but he claims that it is not our duty to judge people twice. Our duty is to look for the good in every single human being – there is always something good. It’s all about empathy.
Put yourself in the role of the one you judge, the one you supervise, the one you take care of, the one you came to dislike.
Forgiveness is perhaps the greatest gift – don’t keep me calling a victim – ultimately it is not about what you experience, but how you handle it.

Jan de Cock started as a street educator in Latin America where his experiences led him to become a prison worker. For a year he lived in different prisons throughout five continents, in search of the human face of the detainees. He founded the organization ‘Within-without-walls’, creating dialogue between prisoners, victims of crime and society. He is the author of books like ‘Hotel prison’ and ‘Hotel pardon’.

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