South Africa: Judging Ubuntu and Africanisation of the Child Justice Act
from the article by Khunou Samuel Freddy on All Africa.com:
The attention for the child justice system in the new South Africa has not only been inspired by the new constitution-based rights of children in conflict with the law, but also international law and the general principles of ubuntu and jurisprudence of African traditional justice.
In compliance with the precepts of international law and the 1996 Constitution, the national parliament promulgated the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 (CJA) to establish a criminal justice system for children.
The CJA also expands on and entrenches the principles of restorative justice. Previously in South Africa, the Children's Protection Act 25 of 1913 (CJ) was the embodiment of the trend towards child justice. This act permitted the presiding officer to decline to continue with a criminal trial against a child and to then commit the child to a government industrial school.
Restorative justice will cover the country
From the article on Voxy.co.nz:
Justice Minister Judith Collins has ... announced restorative justice services will be expanded and rolled out to all courts in New Zealand.
An additional 2,400 restorative justice conferences - totalling 3,600 in 2014/15 - follow the Government’s $4.4 million investment in adult pre-sentence restorative justice as part of Budget 2013.
Ms Collins says investing in pre-sentence restorative justice will help deliver results, give victims a voice in the justice system and make victims strong.
Restorative Justice Bill Introduced in Massachusetts
From the article by Pierre R. Berastain on Huff Post Crime:
The first victim-offender dialogue in Massachusetts occurred in 2006, when Janet Connors met with two of the men who had murdered her son Joel. Until that point, the State had not allowed victims of crime to meet with those who had caused them harm. For Ms. Connors, that day marked the beginning of a transformative and restorative journey toward reconstituting the fragments in the aftermath of Joel's murder. As she indicated to me in conversation, "Sitting it in that dialogue helped me feel that Joel's life matter and the taking of it mattered. It also very much helped hear them acknowledge their accountability and ultimately apologize. I felt that was coming from their heart." Ms. Connors told the men she would give them "half of her forgiveness." The other half came with their commitment to lead different lives.
Mediating criminal violence: Lessons from the gang truce in El Salvador
from the research report by Teresa Whitfield:
During the 1980s El Salvador suffered a bitterly contested civil war. Negotiations mediated by the United Nations concluded in a peace agreement in 1992 and set the course for the, largely smooth, assimilation of former guerrillas in the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) into Salvadoran political life. Post-war, violence perpetrated by illegal armed groups escalated as a result of the involvement of gangs and a range of other criminal actors, in parallel to similar crises of security in Guatemala and Honduras. Honduras and El Salvador were subsequently placed first and second in the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime’s global index of homicide with 92 and 69 homicides per 100,000 respectively in 2011.
In a shift from previous policies which had emphasized the robust suppression of violent crime, in March 2012 facilitators answerable to the Salvadoran government mediated a controversial truce between the country’s two main gangs. The truce brought about a dramatic reduction in the country’s homicide rate whilst raising multiple questions about the risks and benefits of direct engagement with criminal actors.
Review: Regulating restorative justice: A comparative study of legislative provision in European countries
Many European countries have taken at least some steps towards incorporating restorative justice in their system, and this book assess how far some of them have gone in formalizing their progress in legislation. The countries represented are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and two neighbours, Israel and Turkey.
Each chapter, after two introductory ones, follows a template giving a legal description and evaluation of restorative processes, and the political and legal understanding of victim-offender mediation and restorative justice. The list of nearly 40 subdivisions, combined with the analysis in the concluding chapter, are in themselves a useful outline of factors that need to be considered by anyone planning to introduce restorative justice or indeed to improve on measures already introduced. There is something to learn from most countries about how to introduce RJ, or in some cases how not to.
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.
"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.”
The author of Colorado's restorative justice program is going back for a rewrite.
First elected in 2010, state Rep. Pete Lee came to the Legislature at a disadvantage, as a Democrat in a Republican-controlled House. Despite this, his bill to institute restorative justice statewide — a practice in which an offender and his or her victim meet for therapeutic purposes — passed unanimously.
While that was a highlight for the freshman representative, Republican House Minority Leader Mark Waller says the bill passed only because of Republicans' willingness to compromise.
How to respond to violent crime? Ask the victims of crime
RJI will be exploring various legislative responses to violent crime in the U.S. and beyond. We will highlight in particular public policy recommendations that reflect responses based on restorative justice. At this time we are posting the following statute which came from legislation authored by crime victim and survivor Robert “Renny” Cushing who was elected and this year re-elected to the New Hampshire Legislature.
'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.