Six boys, one cop, and the road to restorative justice
from the article by Molly Rowan Leach:
It’s a warm summer night in Longmont, Colorado, a vibrant midsized city in the Rocky Mountains. On a dare, six young men aged between ten and thirteen years plan to break into a giant chemical processing plant. High levels of alcohol and testosterone, peer pressure and a moonless night propel the group towards the locked gates of the factory, and they break in.
Across town at the Police Department, Officer Greg Ruprecht is about to embark on night patrol. A former Army Captain and top of his class at the Police Academy, Ruprecht believes his job is to arrest everyone who commits a crime and throw away the key. Justice means punishment: an eye for an eye, no questions asked. You do something bad and you get what you deserve. There’s a clear line to walk. But what occurred at the chemical plant that night changed him forever by awakening a very different sensibility: instead of an instrument of vengeance, justice requires that we work to restore all those who have been injured by a crime.
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.
"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.
Rare legal settlements demand officers pay too
To settle a wrongful-conviction lawsuit against the Chicago police, the city recently agreed to pay Harold Hill $1.25 million.
What never became public was that, to reach the settlement late last year, two detectives in the case that sent Hill to prison for 12 years for a rape and murder he insisted he did not commit agreed to contribute, too. It was not much next to the total settlement — $7,500 each — yet it apparently meant something to Hill.
Leicestershire Pc Sandie to give US cops policing lesson
from the article in This Is Leicestershire:
New York State's police are to get a lesson in policing from a county copper.
Pc Sandie Hastings will be heading across the Atlantic for a two-week stint with a US police department to teach its officers about restorative justice.
The 58-year-old has been responsible for training her Leicestershire colleagues – and thousands from other British forces – in the concept, in which offenders are made to put right the consequences of their crimes rather than face court action.
She will explain the idea to the officers of Rochester Police Department, who patrol the city with the highest per capita homicide rate in New York State.
Partnering with police to do restorative justice
from the article in PeaceBuilder:
....“Chief Wetherbee called me throughout the week at SPI,” Larson Sawin recalls with a smile. “I suspected he’d be wary of the ritual components of SPI, but the coursework caught his imagination. He said the days went so quickly, five o’clock would roll around and he felt like the day had just started.”
At first, some of his SPI classmates were skeptical that police – often considered a fundamentally coercive force – could play a positive role in RJ processes. If only they had known the full scope of what was happening in Massachusetts.
Ex-Chicago Cop on trial for torturing confessions from hundreds of Black Men
....Flint Taylor, an attorney who represented many clients who say they were tortured by Burge, said the next battle is to change the laws regarding torture.
"Well, that's the statute of limitations problem and one of the many unaddressed issues in Chicago. We are very pleased that Burge is being prosecuted, but there is much left to do, and that includes dealing with federal and state statutes, legislation that would make torture a specific crime," said Taylor.
"And since it's a crime against humanity, there would be no statute of limitations, like there is no statute of limitations for genocide or murder. And in that instance, in the future, if there were another Burge or other torture -- another torture ring and it were covered up successfully for many years, then he could still or they could still be prosecuted for torture," Taylor added.
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.