Restorative Justice in Belfast — a different way to right wrongs
From the article by Abigail Curtis in Bangor Daily News:
The dimly lit gathering space of the Unitarian Universalist Church made a cool setting last month for an event that promised to get a little hot under the collar.
The incidents that led up to the circle of earnest people wrestling with ideas of justice and punishment at the church began last August, when three young men from Belfast got drunk and engaged in a destructive, late-night vandalism spree. They broke windows at MacLeod Furniture, the Belfast Dance Studio and the city park snack stand, and left broken glass in City Park Pool.
Ssshhh…..CDC believes restorative justice will bring peace in our time!
At Cotswold District Council the spotlight will focus on the role of Restorative Justice in resolving noise-related conflict. In other words, CDC officers will be informing the public how members of a community can come together and work out an agreed solution to a noise problem.
CDC Environmental Health Officer, Rachel Kayani, is a keen advocate of this approach:
Community justice: The power of the panel
"I could feel the tension and hatred when they came into the room - but three quarters of an hour later there were buckets of tears."
John Gallagher describes a neighbour dispute which had run for seven years and descended into an anti-social behaviour case.
Victims of antisocial behaviour to decide on punishment
Victims of antisocial behaviour are to decide how offenders are punished under a "community remedy" power to be detailed by Theresa May in a speech at the Conservative party conference.
The home secretary will say on Tuesday that she wants to change the law to empower victims to ensure they get some form of reparation by choosing from a "menu" of punishment options that would include a form of restorative justice.
Community justice panel helps change street drinkers' ways
Swindon has become the first town in the country to implement a new community justice scheme, which has been used to deal with six troublesome street drinkers.
The town was one of 16 areas selected by the Ministry of Justice to test out Neighbourhood Justice Panels, which is an 18-month restorative justice pilot scheme.
NY bus bully incident, Karen Klien and restorative justice
The bus monitor bullied by middle school boys. It’s been in the media and ironically, I first heard of the incident in Circle Training. Karen Klien recently offered that she would like to talk to them to ask them why.
The natural course of this has some restorative elements. The victim didn’t think the apology letters were sincere. It was the 4th student who did an apology face to face that helped Karen.
The moral question
from the article by Kent Spencer in The Province:
....Elliott proposes a comparatively low-tech, low-cost method for dealing with the vast majority of offenders. It involves public apologies and community service in a concept known as restorative justice - meaning literally to restore the community to what it was.
He has offered to bring confessed wrongdoers to a place where they can meet with people who suffered trauma at the hands of roving thugs.
Restorative approaches can make a difference in the relationship between local government bodies and the communities they serve
....Since November 2007 over 9,000 people have been through the RJ process. Of those:
- 89% of participants were satisfied with the outcome
- 87% of participants feel RJ is effective in dealing with crime and ASB
- 93% of participants would recommend RJ
- 93% of participants are satisfied with their treatment
- 83% of participants are confident in the police and partners ability to deal with crime and ASB having been exposed to RJ
Reformed Surrey graffiti artist works to rehab those drawn to life of 'tagging'
Reformed graffiti artist Pontus Agren is drawing up plans to save a rehab program aimed at the kind of "criminal" he used to be.
Party's over for bonfire vandals
from Jonathan Dodd's article in Advertiser.co.uk:
TEENAGERS who trashed a Chapel-en-le-Frith landmark were given an opportunity to make amends under a new 'common sense' approach to policing.
Earlier in the summer, up to 20 teenagers were caught at the top of Eccles Pike. They had been drinking and started a large bonfire on the National Trust-owned land, using wooden supports from around memorial trees to fuel the blaze.
But rather than resorting to court action, Derbyshire Constabulary was able to deal with the incident under its new Restorative Justice scheme.
Putting a face to a crime
I recently wrote on graffiti vandalism in Los Angeles and how restorative justice could be applied to this problem. What I didn't know at the time was that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill here in California related to this problem in 2008. That bill, authored by Assemblyman Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles), required that convicted graffiti offenders clean up the mess they created and for one year keep it clean. This reflects restorative justice in that the punishment fits the crime. The governor was right.