Inmates pack more than 15,000 meals for hungry kids
from the article on the StarTribune:
When sign-up sheets went up recently at Stillwater prison for inmates to pack meals for hungry kids, the 50 volunteer slots were filled within five minutes. So officials increased the number of inmate volunteers allowed.
On Saturday, 131 of them assembled meal packets for an event led by the prison’s Restorative Justice Offender Council and Trinity Lutheran Church in Bayport.
Oakland activist helps troubled young men heal from trauma
From the article by Matt O'Brien on Contra Costa Times:
It might seem strange, to those with a dim view of them, to witness young men with gang affiliations and juvenile records gathered in a ceremonial circle and disclosing their deepest regrets. But for George Galvis, this is the way people are supposed to resolve their problems. Everyone, he said, wants their voices heard.
LAPD to try voluntary mediation in racial profiling cases
from the article by Joel Rubin in the Los Angeles Times:
The Los Angeles Police Department received the go-ahead Tuesday to launch an experimental mediation program that would bring officers face-to-face with people who have accused them of racial profiling.
Joy in the dirty work of restorative justice
....The tension between the study of a topic and the subsequent conversion of ideas into actual work exists in all endeavors, something I have been thinking about as I prepare a training weekend for people interested in learning about restorative justice.
There is a purity in theory, a beauty reminiscent of the idealism of Plato and Pythagoras, that is fun to engage. Working in this realm is a kind of game, fun, yet ultimately empty without the willingness to get out in the world and get dirty. In a training environment we seek to balance this tension in a way that honors both aspects of reality. We want to transmit the underlying principles while also showing how things “really” work.
An Outcome Evaluation of Minnesota Circles of Support and Accountability (MnCoSA)
....The use of the COSA model with high-risk sex offenders began in a small Mennonite community in Canada in the early 1990s. Grounded in the tenets of the restorative justice philosophy, the COSA model attempts to help sex offenders successfully reenter http://www.doc.state.mn.us/publications/documents/9-12MnCOSAResearchinBrief.pdfthe community and, thus, increase public safety, by providing them with social support as they try to meet their employment, housing, treatment, and other social needs. Each COSA consists of anywhere between four and six community volunteers, one of whom is a primary volunteer, who meet with the offender on a regular basis. The results from several evaluations of the Canadian COSA model suggest it significantly reduces sex offender recidivism....
Retaking our streets: Restorative justice in the city of St. Francis
....The fact that this mindless violence (even though there is a distorted, revenge-oriented gang rationale) is perpetrated by 14-year-old children in some cases, reminds us of futuristic predictions in novels such as “Clockwork Orange” and the like. Killing, for revenge and even for fun, is becoming embedded in the culture, an evil, systemic pall creeping through our streets and into our families and communities and settling there as an alien host. Families in this community live in fear.
"The public wants to be involved": A roundtable conversation about community and restorative justice
When participants were asked to list the goals of community engagement, six areas attracted broad support:
1. Empowering communities
While the concept of giving community members more power is a key ingredient of many initiatives, the nature of the power varies. In San Francisco’s Neighborhood Courts, community volunteers have the authority to determine guilt and can even dismiss cases while volunteers on Atlanta’s restorative justice panels can only adjust the terms of a sentence handed down by a court.
For defenders, empowerment involves education—specifically educating the public about the role of defense organizations and navigating the justice system. “Our goal is to help people understand what we do and clarify our role and to trust us,” said James Berry, of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. “We don’t feel an obligation to promote the police or prosecutors, but we do have an interest in helping people to understand what we do and how we help to balance the equation.”
Ford appointed to Genesee Justice coordinator post
from the article in The Daily News:
Shannon L. Ford has been appointed to fill the position of Genesee Justice program coordinator, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.
The position was created after a vacancy was left by the resignation of the assistant director.
Peacemaking circles become a way of living on Chicago’s South Side
“Four friends of mine were killed this summer,” Jonathan Little tells a group of college students visiting Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, a kind of peace zone in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. The young man’s voice is somber but composed, as if he has taken the full measure of this abyss of suffering. He has decided that it’s his duty to honor the dead by methodically pushing on with the work — the quest, really — of finding a way out of the storm of violence that bears down on the young in the precincts of poverty and institutionalized racism on the South Side of Chicago.
Restorative justice for veterans: The San Francisco Sheriff 's Department's Community of Veterans Engaged in Restoration (COVER)
....Veterans represent a rapidly growing segment of the jail population whose characteristics mirror those of the general jail population and include histories of substance abuse, inconsistent work histories and challenges related to maintaining family relationships.
Like most prisoners, they receive few services while incarcerated to address the myriad of health, mental health, and psychosocial issues that contribute to their incarceration and pose challenges upon release. The military discharge status of most justice-involved vets—less than honorable—makes them ineligible for many of the benefits and services offered by the Veterans Administration (VA).