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I wanted revenge but found compassion

from the article on Sycamore Voices:

When I first heard of restorative practice I thought it was a load of rubbish. I thought that all the offender had to do was say sorry and that was it. So how would you know if they were genuine or not?  I have come to realise that it is way more than that. To take part in a restorative practice session takes strength and courage from both sides and is way more than a simple “I’m sorry.” It is restorative on both sides!

Jul 29, 2014 , , ,

Encouraging results from restorative justice scheme in Bracknell

from the article in GetReading: 

Four fifths of all offenders given restorative disposals have not gone on to commit another crime, according to police figures.

The figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request show since they came into action in 2009 until the end of 2013, 1,121 offenders in Bracknell have been given a restorative disposals, with only 256 (23 per cent) going on to reoffend.

Jul 28, 2014 , ,

Top accolade for West Yorkshire community justice programme

from the article in the Telegraph and Argus:

A pioneering Bradford community justice programme has won a national award.

The Neighbourhood Resolution Panel, run by West Yorkshire Probation, won the restorative justice category at the Howard League for Penal Reform's Community Programmes Awards, aimed at encouraging support for successful community sentences.

The awards were presented by the Princess Royal.

Jul 25, 2014 ,

Face to face with victims: Boulder County to expand restorative justice

from the article on Daily Camera Boulder County News: 

As a prosecutor, Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett is a big believer in the American court system. But even Garnett admits there are times when months of hearings and drawn-out jury trials aren't the answer — especially in the case of adolescents.

"That may make sense for a murder case, but it doesn't make sense for a kid knocking a mailbox off its post," Garnett said.

His office will be one of four in Colorado participating in a state pilot program to help youths stay out of the court system — even the juvenile court system — and resolve their cases through restorative justice. Over the next few months, Garnett and his staff will be working on opening the 20th Judicial District Attorney's Center of Prevention and Restorative Justice.

Jul 24, 2014 , , ,

Restorative Justice in Northern Ireland

from the article by David Orr:

...The European Forum for Restorative Justice was fortunate to attract numerous high profile keynote speakers, each of whom made stimulating and engaging contributions. David Ford, the Minister for Justice and Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), made a thoughtful opening speech. He hails from one of the few political parties that have always tried to attract (and continue to try to attract) voters from both sides of the sectarian divide. In many ways, as Leader of the Alliance Party, he is something of an endangered species. He spoke about restorative justice as “a very human response to the harm that is caused to victims” and was clearly passionate and informed about the subject matter, aware of the potential for restorative justice approaches in response to many forms of offending, including serious crime. 

Jul 23, 2014 ,

‘Spiceman’ case sent to unique restorative justice program before sentencing

from the article in the Toronto Star:

Before Naveen Polapady is sentenced for assaulting and throwing spices at a man he says he believed was a thief, he and the man he injured will take the unusual step of talking it out — no lawyers present.

Polapady’s case was referred to a “vibrant restorative justice mediation service” at the St. Stephen’s Community House in Kensington Market, Crown attorney John Flaherty told the court Monday morning.

Jul 22, 2014 ,

Witnessing change

from the article posted by Prison Fellowship England & Wales:

Rachel*, a Sycamore Tree volunteer, told us of how listening to a victim’s experiences had completely changed the attitude and behavior of an offender.

“Tyrone* was an offender that stood out to me. I remember him saying:

“In my past life I was a taker. I was robbing banks, shooting people, drinking, being involved in adultery, blasphemy and coveting my neighbour’s women. My sinning was prolific and I enjoyed it, I actually revelled in it.”

Jul 21, 2014 , , ,

20 essential principles for corrections-based victim services

from the document prepared by Developed by the NAVSPIC VOD National Standards Subcommittee:

1. A confidential post-conviction facilitated process initiated only by crime victims/survivors, sometimes many years after the conviction of the offender(s). 

  • Victims/Survivors usually initiate a request for VOD a number of years after the conviction primarily because: 
    • They want to tell certain facts and feelings to the offender(s) convicted in the crime(s) against them. 
    • They want to ask certain questions of the offender(s). 
  • Survivors see VOD as a way to make meaning or sense of what happened to them, but only when the courageous choice to initiate the request lies with them, not the offender. 
  • Experience has shown that survivors may feel that offender-initiated requests to meet and talk, or to apologize, can be intrusive, re-traumatizing, and contain risk of inappropriate self-interest. 

Jul 18, 2014 ,

Restorative justice: Coming face-to-face with your burglar

from the article in the Western Daily Press:

As Coronation Street fans wait to find out if unlucky-in-love Gail McIntyre’s friendship with the man who burgled her house, Michael Rodwell, played by Les Dennis, turns to romance, restorative justice has been thrust into the spotlight. Jon Collins, chief executive of the The Restorative Justice Council,  describes how it works in real life.

"Being able to say the things I wasn't able to say in court was a turning point for me. It gave me the closure I needed to put it behind me and move on."

Jul 17, 2014

Another road to justice

from the article in Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:

The group of men listens, mesmerized, as Lynn BeBeau talks about the last time she saw her husband alive.

"I told him the same thing I always did: `I love you. Be careful.' "

Her husband grinned back.

"Honey, don't worry about me. Me and God are like this." He held up two crossed fingers and smiled.

Hours later, the Eau Claire police officer was shot to death in the line of duty.

The hulking men in prison greens sit perfectly still as BeBeau fights back tears. They are murderers, armed robbers, drug dealers, child molesters.

Jul 16, 2014 , , , ,

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