Center for Restorative Justice braces for changes to marijuana law
With the state likely to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana this summer, the local nonprofit that handles court diversion cases is preparing for the changes....
Cipriano said decriminalization is not legalization, a distinction she fears may be lost on some young people as well as adults. Those caught with less than an ounce of marijuana who are 21 and over will face a civil fine, but for those between the ages of 16 and 20 the penalty is expected to be similar to an underage drinking offense.
Judge's experience: Restorative justice works
....I would not write this commentary or support restorative justice if I did not see the results firsthand. I have written amazing anecdotal stories about the transformation of some of our youth and the communities, but that is not as relevant as the evidence supporting the success of the program.
Foremost among the statistics drawn from two years of studies of the program is that recidivism for youth that successfully completed the program is 5%. So, of about 300 teens that have gone through the program, 15 went on in subsequent years to either reoffend or violate the terms of their probation.
Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus talks restorative justice
....First, could you tell me a little bit about the short course you taught at Grinnell the past two weeks?
The purpose of the course was to introduce students to the principles of restorative justice and their historical roots, to discuss current restorative justice programs and applications of restorative principles and to compare how our country currently addresses conflict and wrongdoing with how we might address those matters using a more restorative approach.
New home for juveniles recruited to drug trade
Freddie knows he is lucky. If he were six months older, he could be in a state prison.
Or he could have been labeled a snitch and treated as such by Mexican cartel operatives.
D.A. candidate Jackie Lacey looks to move up
....California faces a sweeping revamp of the way it delivers and administers criminal justice. Under the policy change known as realignment, counties must take on the task of incarcerating and supervising many felons who formerly went to state prison. The next district attorney of Los Angeles County will play a lead role in developing and articulating policies that will determine whether smart, cost-effective alternative sentencing practices lead to rehabilitation — or instead to dangerous criminals being released, unsupervised, into the community.
Growing past hate: 'Restorative justice' helps heal pain from teens' vandalism
In March of 1994 members of the Temple B’nai Jeshurun in Des Moines awoke to find neo-Nazi graffiti scrawled on the side of their synagogue. There were no immediate suspects, but there was anguish, anger and outrage.
Utah’s mental health court addresses repeat offender problems
Sim Gill believes that jail is for people who have murdered, raped, or who harm children and not a place for the mentally ill. He is currently in the process of trying to accomplish this.
Gill, who is the Salt Lake County District Attorney, recently spoke to small group of University of Utah students on about his job and the passions that drive him. Gill spoke about various processes, from how he deals with the death penalty, drug abuse and to the mentally ill committing crimes. The United States jails more people than any other country in the world, he said. Gill estimated around 2.2 million people in the United States are currently incarcerated.
In Dharun Ravi trial, criminal retribution will not serve justice
I watch with increasing discomfort as the arch of justice sways with uncertainty in that New Brunswick courtroom where the fate of former Rutgers University freshman Dharun Ravi is being considered.
A visionary judge makes restorative justice come alive in Alabama
In a six-part video series, Judge McCooey talks passionately about her believe that justice requires much more than the court system provides, especially in the area of giving crime victims the opportunity to meet the offenders, face-to-face, in a safe place, and to do so on a voluntary basis. (If you walk out of here and find someone has stolen your car radio, chances are you don’t have much interest in meeting the thief, she says in one segment. But the more deeply you have been hurt, the more likely you want to meet the offender and ask questions like “why?”.)
As appealing as her speaking style and warmth is her story about the unorthodox path that led her to the bench. Serving as a judge was never in her long-range plans, but when she won her first election against a well-established Montgomery lawyer, surprising herself in the process, she knew there were some new thing she wanted to try. Finding ways of implementing a restorative justice program was among them, and she set about methodically but quietly to make this happen.
More cautionary news from the US
By Dan Van Ness
United States public officials are reconsidering sentencing policies, driven by the increasingly high cost implications of current laws and practices. Mandatory sentencing laws, including Three Strikes legislation adopted in a number of states, take discretion away from judges and require prison sentences (often quite lengthy) be served.