"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.”
'Quick' justice on rise as offenders make amends
A disabled bike thief and a Cambridge University student are among hundreds of offenders to be dealt with by police using “quick” justice.
Chief Constable Simon Parr said police were increasingly using restorative justice to deal with low-level crimes, saying some victims preferred it.
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.
Restorative Justice in the Greater Manchester Police
....The first of the five aims, to reduce crime, is an area where GMP has had significant success in recent years. A key part of the crime reduction strategy is to “make more use of Restorative Justice to give victims the opportunity to challenge offenders and make them understand the consequences of their behaviour”. In a criminal Justice context, victims are given the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime, to get answers and to get an apology. This helps offenders understand the real impact of what they’ve done and holds them to account for it while also helping victims to get on with their lives.
To some extent, RJ runs counter to the culture that developed within police forces in response to central government targets because it can adversely affect the statistics traditionally used to assess police performance. Performance was measured against targets such as the numbers of sanctioned detections (where an offender is charged, cautioned, reported for summons, reprimanded, the offence is taken into consideration or where a fixed penalty notice is issued), the numbers of stop and search events and numbers of arrests. The last of these central government policing targets was removed in 2010.
MHA salutes Dennis Wittman
Dennis Wittman said Tuesday he didn't do anything special in his 25 years of leading the county's Genesee Justice program.
People who attended the Mental Health Association of Genesee County annual meeting heard a different recounting of Witman's career. Wittman received the Constance E. Miller Award, given to a person who shows a strong commitment to mental health treatment in the community.
...."I believe he has gone above and beyond. If you know Dennis Witman, you know that he's excellent," said Kathy France, former board member with the Mental Health Association, the organization that presented Wittman with his award.
True community policing means restorative justice
Community Policing has become one of those "assumed good things" that we all are supposed to support. But what do we mean by community policing? Does it mean we should be happy with just having a police officer at a community meeting, or on the street? Is a beat cop the whole story? Is there a role for the community beyond being informants?
My view of Community Policing has to do with merging community values and existing statues. Local communities need to be involved in helping community youth become aware and understand what is acceptable and what is not.
City programs honored during excellence awards' 20th anniversary
The Awards for Municipal Excellence will be celebrating 20 years of success as it honors eight innovative city programs during [the National League of City's] Congress of Cities and Exposition, this week in San Antonio.
“These eight Awards for Municipal Excellence cities have improved the quality of life for their citizens by developing creative solutions to pressing local problems,” said Donald J. Borut, NLC executive director. “I congratulate them for establishing model programs that can serve as positive examples for other cities.”
Cardiff given more say in justice
From News Wales (29 April 09): A range of new measures that gives communities more say in the way justice is delivered in their neighbourhoods as well as making local criminal justice agencies more accountable to the people they represent has today been announced by ministers. Cardiff is one of 30 areas across England and Wales pioneering a new package of measures to test a range of initiatives that will deliver justice for all and put people back at the heart of the justice system.