Carey, Mark. Vision Weaving: Proposed Mission & Strategies for a Restorative Justice Campaign
The International Restorative Justice Coalition is committed to fulfilling the following mission, goals, and strategies indicated below. The Coalition is made up of .... This "action plann" was conceived through numerous discussions with individuals involved in advancing the principles and values of restorative justice. It is not a static plan, rather one that will need to bend and reshape as more and different voices are brought in.
The restorative justice "movement" is moving to a new stage of development, one with different challenges and required strategies than when it first began in earnest just a few years ago. The first forays into the justice system during the movement's infancy were hesitant ones, filled with a strong commitment toward the need for change and an underlying fire in the belly, but with some trepidation and uncertainty that the philosophy embedded in the ideas would succeed.
After a few years of courageous efforts and risk taking, the early pioneers have emerged emboldened and confident that the restorative concepts were not pollyannaish and impractical but rather quite insightful and respectful of humanity's past traditions and values. One wonders how the justice system wandered so far off this path of restoring harm and trusting in communities' willingness to get involved.
Despite advancements in adopting restorative philosophies and programs in justice systems, schools, communities, and other areas, an ominous concern still lingers. Most restorative inroads exist as fringe elements to systems and processes that remain largely non-restorative. That is, they are unreformed and the core drivers and activities proceed under a due process, adversarial, systems-goal focus.
While the core methods used by the legal system to handle disputes that cannot be resolved elsewhere are critical to retain, an over-reliance on its methods has unnecessarily usurped and dominated the approach or passiveness of other systems. Too often, neighbors don't know each other, and therefore cannot support or confront one another. Calling 911 is usually the preferred option to conflict. Justice system personnel have been pre-occupied with moving cases through the system and surveillance instead of true, long-term conflict resolution and repair of harm. Victims and community members affected by crime are too often forgotten or given perfunctory attention. And, offenders talk of feeling like a side player watching a system duke it out as if they were an impassionate observer.
As the modern day restorative justice movement enters its second decade, new strategies are called for. New approaches must be taken if the principles are going to be driven deeper in individual and community psyche and if they are ever to become second nature.
Mission: To improve the experience of criminal justice so that victims, offenders, and communities are informed, involved, empowered, restored, and satisfied, to the degree possible.
Note: each of these words (informed, involved, empowered, and satisfied) needs defining.
- Increase awareness of restorative justice so it becomes a widely acknowledged and understood term no matter the age.
- Ensure that new recruits entering the criminal/juvenile justice system are fully educated and trained on restorative principles.
- Increase the likelihood that restorative ideals are practiced and
put forth by policy and legislation.
Strategies for Goal One:
Increase awareness of restorative justice so it becomes a widely acknowledged and understood term no matter the age.
- Approach the Ad Council to gain assistance in developing a marketing strategy that includes billboards, TV spots, newspaper articles and other methods.
- Devise a media packet that will be sent to each jurisdiction that seeks to improve local news coverage of restorative justice, especially editorial boards.
- Find a "poster child" case(s) to use for national exposure.
- Develop and promote a curriculum to be used in schools (elementary, junior high, and high schools).
- Approach major markets for possible movie or series such as Disney. (This needs more fine tuning.)
- Bring together a group of creative, artistic individuals to craft ways to get restorative ideas into mass market (eg, novels, comic books, paintings, Nintendo, TV, radio, etc.).
Strategies for Goal Two:
Ensure that new recruits entering the criminal/juvenile justice system are fully educated and trained on restorative principles.
- Develop a "blueprint" manual on how to engage local universities and colleges in discussing the needs of the field and to hold on-going discussions of professional trends and publications that should be used by higher learning institutions. Provide the manual to restorative agencies seeking to address this issue with state and private educators.
- (Need a strategy to work with law schools here.)
- Ensure that state training academies are including restorative
training in new staff orientation. Provide sample curriculum to
- Work with ACA, APPA, NADA, SJI, and other national associations to find out where information and training gaps exist and provide technical assistance.
- Sponsor a national gathering of federal/state government and university educators to discuss topic.
- Create list of textbooks that contain restorative material and work through major distributors to encourage their use.
- Sponsor politician "ride-alongs."
- Devise a set of restorative questions to provide to League of Women Voters and other organizations that sponsor candidate debates.
Strategies for Goal Three:
Increase the likelihood that restorative ideals are practiced and put forth by policy and legislation.
- Organize a state-by-state campaign to find existing elected officials that are restorative in policy positions and acknowledge their contributions.
- Recruit and support restorative minded candidates to run for office.
- When new governors or mayors are elected, seek ways to place restorative volunteer on search committees for judges, commissioners, police chiefs, and directors.
- Appoint and support an agency in each state that serves as a "policy watchdog" to support or alert officials when policy is passed that could hold restorative features.
- Approach APPA to establish national outcome measures for restorative goals (Dennis Maloney has already put this forth. Needs follow through.)
Other things to consider:
Changing names and titles to reflect restoration. (eg, change names of judge, probation officer, prosecutor, victim advocate, etc.)
 Mark Carey is Deputy Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Corrections. He has served as Director of Dakota County Community Corrections, and as Director of Dodge, Fillmore, and Olmsted Counties Community Corrections, both in Minnesota. He has over 20 years of experience in the correctional field, serving as a counselor, probation officer, planner and consultant. He taught juvenile justice at Rochester Community College and has written numerous articles. He is currently on the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) Board of Directors, and in 1996 he received APPA's Sam Houston University Award. In 1993, Mark was selected as Corrections Person of the Year by the Minnesota Corrections Association.