Seeking restorative justice for victims of communal riots
by B. Rajeshwari:
In the context of India and the occurrence of any major communal riot brings forward the plight of the victims, their struggle to attain justice and come to terms with the harsh violence they have had to face. The criminal justice system in situations of communal rioting has not really been able to bring the desired results for the victims. Justice by courts is often delayed and takes years before any concrete decisions emerges from them. Both in the case of anti-Sikh riots and the Gujarat riot, the victims have not been able to receive justice in most cases.
Most judicial decisions are compensatory in character and in some cases punishments to those committing the crime is a way to assuage the victims. In the case of Gujarat riots, after so many years, the court gave punishment to a few of those who instigated the mob to take up violence. The reparation of victims has happened is some cases where they have been given material compensation or there has been an acknowledgement that wrongs were committed against one particular community where agencies of the State also participated in different capacities in the violence against the victims.
Review: Crime, Punishment, and Restorative Justice: From the Margins to the Mainstream.
by Eric Assur
This is a unique and thought-provoking book from cover to cover. It is not a review of the brief history of restorative justice (RJ). Rather, it is a projection of just where RJ can take the discipline of criminal justice administration and practice. The author, not your usual academic, dissuades the reader from even using the word paradigm in discussing his ideas. He proposes and supports an integration of contemporary criminal justice approaches with restorative justice elements.
Schindler’s List, Anne Frank, Rwanda: Taking a stand
I told my friend that I was just finishing a book about the holocaust in Nazi Germany and the extermination of millions of Jews. Genocide. I knew as much as most Americans about Nazi Germany and the holocaust. I had seen the documentaries and had memories of facts I learned in school. But at the end of 2012 I read a number of books about the holocaust with personal stories about Nazi Germany including “Anne Frank Remembered; The story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family” by Miep Gies with Alison Leslie Gold. That book led me to read “Schindler’s List” by Tom Keneally, and “Eva Braun: Life With Hitler” by Heike B. Gortemaker.
I’m not into remorse
Lots of people will ask me about offenders feeling remorse when they go through a restorative conference. Trainee facilitators will ask whether or not I thought a client showed remorse during a pre-conference. People curious about the process will ask if those who have committed crime actually show remorse. The most difficult conversations occur when I talk to a victim of crime about participating. They may ask if the offender has shown remorse in my meetings with him/her.
Fairness, justice and restoring lives
During a hot summer day, daycare workers removed children from a van, except one — Jazzmin Green. She was two years old. Sixteen-year-old Miesha Ridley was responsible for checking off the names of the children as they were removed. There was a mark next to Jazzmin’s name. An hour passed before anyone noticed she was missing. They found her in the van unconscious — still strapped to her car seat. She died from the heat. Miesha and two adult workers were arrested.
Miesha admitted to voluntary manslaughter — it was time for disposition. Jazzmin’s parents made it clear that anything other than prison for Miesha would be “unfair.” They just buried their child and the pain was eating at them. During the hearing, Mr. Green shared these feelings of unfairness and asked that “justice” be done.
Review: Emotions, Crime and Justice
.....Emotions, Crime and Justice is a major step toward a more theoretically and practically nuanced conversation.
As this book reveals in a series of original essays of great range, depth and sophistication, criminology has much to gain by investigating the emotions underlying crime and punishment. The collection spans a range of theoretical, ethnographic and experimental approaches, a range of criminal justice institutions and roles, and a range of cultures (indeed, for many U.S. readers, one of the pleasures of this volume will be the opportunity to become immersed in the criminology literature of the U.K., Australia and New Zealand; all but four of the twenty-two contributors are from non U.S. common law countries).
About restorative justice and the need for more culture change
As a restorative justice facilitator I’m not a legal expert (I actually don’t even understand all that much about the legal system in this country because I’ve not lived here for very many years).
As a restorative justice facilitator I’m not even an expert in the conflict I’m dealing with – one of the key principles of restorative justice is one that we share wholeheartedly at deep:black: the experts in the conflict are always the people that are in it.
A contradiction and an alliance among restorative justice theories, feminism and Confucianism: From Taiwan's experience
from the paper by Hsiao-Sen Huang:
This paper aims to discuss a theoretical contradiction and to explore a possible alliance among restorative justice theories, feminism and Confucianism, with a focus on restorative justice practice in family violence cases. In addition to drawing on literature, this paper will undertake qualitative analyses on the interviews with six facilitators in Taiwan Restorative Justice Pilot.
Restorative justice and coercion
by Lynette Parker:
Recently, I had a brief Twitter conversation with HMP_Chaplain about restorative justice and coercion. HMP_Chaplain commented on a statement by a Sycamore Tree Project facilitator in England and Wales that “if they make RJ compulsory she will pull out." I responded in a couple of Tweets:
“Can understand...voluntariness is essential in RJ. Coercion can stand in the way of dialogue but doesn’t have to.”
“Also RJ is more than a process its a way of thinking that can inform all interactions with offenders.”
A relational vision of justice
As a relational theory of justice, RJ is rooted in a relational understanding of human beings and the world. It starts from the fundamental assumption that human beings are inherently relational. This is more than merely a description about the way in which we live or a claim about the benefits that relationships bring. Human beings do indeed live in relationships with one another, but, a relational theory claims that we could not do otherwise. We are, on this account, formed in and through relationship with others. Relationship is central to who we are and who we become.
This is not to say that we are just the sum of our relationships or wholly determined by them. We still make choices for ourselves and are responsible for those choices. But a relational approach reveals the extent to which our choices are made possible by and realized with the help of others. Our choices also affect others.