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.
Victoria’s Neighbourhood Justice Centre
Community Justice Centres are neighbourhood-focused centres that seek to enhance community participation in the justice system, address local problems, and enhance the quality of local community life....Centres often vary in their model and focus but generally share a motivation to address crime and safety concerns locally, by developing effective relationships and links with the local community.
Community justice centres challenge traditional methods of the criminal justice system. Rather than focusing on responding to crime after it has occurred, they seek to develop new relationships, both within the justice system and with stakeholders from the wider community, and to trial new and innovative approaches to community safety...
A feature common to the various kinds of centres around the world is that they seek to respond in innovative ways to issues that may be otherwise considered negligible in the traditional criminal justice system.