- Showing 6 posts filed under: Offender [–] published between Nov 01, 2009 and Nov 30, 2009 [Show all]
Apology lite: Truths, doubts, and reconciliations in the Senate’s guarded apology for slavery
The United States Senate formally apologized for slavery on June 18, 2009. This followed an apology made nearly a year earlier, on July 29, 2008, by the House of Representatives. Unlike the House apology, the Senate apology contains additional limiting language, specifically stating that it cannot be used as a ground for monetary compensation. The apology is nearly nine hundred words, with a preamble which goes into some detail about the wrongness of slavery, admitting that slaves were “brutalized, humiliated, [and] dehumanized.” It then states:
(1) APOLOGY FOR THE ENSLAVEMENT AND SEGREGATION OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS.—The Congress . . . apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws . . . .
(2) DISCLAIMER.—Nothing in this resolution—
(A) authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or
(B) serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.
Community justice: Not to you or for you, but with you
by Christa Pierpont. This is a selection of an article from a special online complement to the Summer 2008 issue of ACResolution, Vol 7, Issue 4. The Association for Conflict Resolution has given permission for it to be used on RJOnline. The complete article is attached.
....The “magic” of restorative practices comes from a principled belief that when there is a breach in relationships, people can re-story their lives (often in gifted ways), given an active and supported responsibility to do so. It is clear from the research report, Restorative Justice: The Evidence, (Lawrence W. Sherman and Heather Strang, Smith Institute, 2007) that individuals can transcend large and small wrongs in a highly satisfactory way with improved long-term consequences when restorative practices are used. Our next question was: Could this opportunity be expanded from individuals to a wider sense of cultural harms?
In particular, could restorative processes begin to address underlying racial anger and fears in our region without exacerbating negative economic realities? These questions grew out of dynamics we were discovering as we explored the history of public school education in Virginia. When the RCF studied school disciplinary statistics for public schools, we found a significantly higher rate of disciplinary action for low-income and minority youth. Efforts are now being made to reduce out-of-classroom placements and to transition to more restorative disciplinary practices, but it will take decades and funding to re-build skills for individuals who have given up on the public school system.
The odds are against ex-offenders
I had been told that he was a Baptist preacher and had worked as a prison chaplain in the Texas Department of Corrections for more than 30 years. When he walked into the restaurant to meet me for lunch he fit the stereotype one might expect. Wavy hair combed straight back, a western-style jacket and boots. When lunch was served he asked that we bless our food.
But as soon as he began to talk about the plight of prisoners and ex-offenders any preconceived stereotypes quickly shattered. For the next hour he spoke quietly but passionately about the desperate circumstances of individuals who had been released from prison, the inhumanity of the prison system, the apathy and cruelty of society and misguided public policies.
Muhammad and the 'closure' myth
....In the past decade, 24 U.S. prisons have begun victim-offender dialogue programs. These programs give victims' survivors opportunities to meet with, talk to and ask questions of the offenders, often questions only the offender can answer. According to John Wilson, director of Just Alternatives, a group that trains prison personnel in the dialogue program, this victim-led initiative has brought a sense of power and renewal to the lives of survivors. "Survivors can go through years of therapy, but until they have the opportunity to talk with their offenders, their healing often feels unfinished," he said.
Create an apology letter online
Ben Furman and Lorenn Walker have created a website that guides someone who wishes to apologize through a process of reflection based on restorative justice principles and values. It produces a customized letter which can be printed and sent to the person wronged.
Check out the website, and offer feedback.
Grieving mum’s prison visit inspired by daughter’s kindness
A heartbroken mother drew on the memory of her daughter killed in a car crash to find the courage to meet the burglar who broke into her home.
Margaret Foxley told the burglar the laptop he stole contained treasured photographs of her daughter Jessica, who died in a car crash with two friends in Colne six months later.
It was the first time in Lancashire that a victim had gone into prison to meet the person who committed a crime against them as part of the ‘restorative justice’ programme.