WOONSOCKET â€“ Hoodies, sneakers and sports caps are the preferred attire for these seven men, a group that appears mostly in their 20s, from a veritable rainbow of ethnic backgrounds.
It could be boysâ€™ night out, a trip to a ballgame perhaps, except the setting is all wrong. Theyâ€™re sitting around a cafeteria table in a cramped, austere conference room in a community center located in Providenceâ€™s gritty Manton section. Slumped in their chairs or staring off vacantly in the distance, a couple of the guys look bored, like thereâ€™s any place in the world theyâ€™d rather be. Others seem more engaged, talking quietly among each other while they wait for roll call to begin.
Welcome to battererâ€™s intervention group, a specialized class in reformatory education for domestic abusers. Most men â€“ and women â€“ convicted of any one of the stateâ€™s misdemeanor domestic crimes are ordered by the courts to enroll in such a group, at their own expense.
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