- Showing 7 posts filed under: Policy [–] published between Jan 01, 2010 and Jan 31, 2010 [Show all]
Italy prison overcrowding emergency
from the article in Corrections Reporter:
The Italian government on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in the country’s prisons and launched a four-point plan to tackle the overcrowding, ANSA news agency reported.
Talking at a press conference attended as well by Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, the Justice Minister Angelino Alfano said “the plan is without precedent in the history of this Republic.”
“We’re going to eliminate prison overcrowding once and for all without resorting to another round of amnesties,” he added, which would empty prisons by pouring criminals in the society.
Cutting crime: The case for justice reinvestment
The British House of Common Justice Committee has recently released a report on the reinvestment of justice resources aimed at reducing crime. The following is excerpted from the Executive Summary:
We decided to undertake an inquiry into “justice reinvestment”, because of three linked issues.
First, the criminal justice system is a complex network of agencies with substantial public funding operating under increasing pressure but the different parts of the system do not seem to be pursuing the same goals or making cogent contributions to an agreed overarching purpose.
Secondly, the Government’s main answer to the current overcrowding of prisons and the predicted rise in the prison population—already at a record high—is to provide more prison places rather than to seek to address the root causes of this seemingly incessant growth. These causes include: a toxic cocktail of sensationalised or inaccurate reporting of difficult cases by the media; relatively punitive overall public opinion (compared to much of the EU); a self-defeating over-politicisation of criminal justice policy since the late 1980s and the responsiveness to all these factors of the sentencing framework and sentencers.
Thirdly, it is clear that authorities and agencies outside the criminal justice system—with relevant objectives, remits and funding—could take more effective action to reduce both the number of people entering the criminal justice system in the first place and the likelihood of re-entry after serving a sentence.
So questions arise as to whether the existing allocation of attention, energy and funding is the right one. “Justice reinvestment” approaches—which channel resources on a geographically-targeted basis to reduce the crimes which bring people into the criminal justice system and into prison in particular—offer potential solutions to these challenges.
The secret to creating a calm classroom without conflict
A radical approach to behavioural problems, already successfully used with criminals and in areas of political unrest, is starting to prove its worth in schools. Low-level disruption is a stubborn problem in many classrooms, yet work done in three East Sussex schools shows that this technique makes it possible to get to the roots of problems and make fundamental changes.
Research published last month shows that by training staff and pupils as skilled mediators, and by making clear to everyone that conflicts will be dealt with in a fair and open way, these schools have been able to avert problems and make significant changes to their atmosphere.
U.S. Sentencing Commission and restorative justice
The U.S. Sentencing Commission has now created a victim advisory group which will include restorative justice expert Howard Zehr and Illinois crime victim Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins.
Restorative justice workshop report
From the blog post by Sue Huff, trustee for Edmonton Public Schools.
For the past three days, I've attended a Restorative Justice Facilitator Workshop put on by the Alberta Conflict Tranformation Society. I've had the opportunity to hear about this practice from a few sources, including Dr. Martin Brokenleg and some EPSB staff who believe that it is a more effective teaching tool than traditional punitive measures like suspensions or expulsions. This workshop was a chance to delve a little more deeply into the process.
...In a nutshell, this approach demands that the one who has caused the harm (or "offender" if it is a legal case) take responsibility for their actions, admit what they have done and come face-to-face with everyone who has been harmed (or "victims".) The facilitated conversation that takes place is raw, emotional and honest. Everyone talks about how they have been affected by the incident. Victims have the opporunity to have burning questions answered. In the end, the circle decides what steps need to be taken to move towards repairing the harm and rebuilding relationships/lives/community/hope. In most cases, conflict is transformed into cooperation. Hatred is transformed into understanding, empathy or forgiveness. Of course, it doesn't work 100% of the time, but in most circumstances, people on both sides leave feeling satisfied with the outcomes. (Contrast that satisfaction with how most people feel after a court case.)
Working restoratively in schools: A guidebook for developing safe and connected learning communities
from Tom Cavanagh's review:
The author of this book is a well-known practitioner of the application of restorative justice theory in schools, particularly in Australia. He is to be commended for providing a practical resource for educators to help them understand the theory of restorative justice as it is applied in educational settings and to help them apply that theory in practical ways.
My review of this book is influenced by my special interest in developing the theory of a Culture of Care in schools based on restorative justice principles, particularly related to the importance of building and maintaining healthy and caring relationships, in order that all students, particularly those students who do not belong to the dominant culture, may flourish in school and as adults.
Launch of Wentworth Restorative Justice Project in Durban
from the announcement on Imagine Durban:
Khulisa is an award-winning NGO dedicated to preventing crime through promoting rehabilitation, education and reconciliation.
In partnership with the South Durban Basin Area Based Management Programme of Ethekwini Municipality, Khulisa has launched an integrated pilot project aimed at bringing the concepts of restorative justice (RJ) into the Merewent community.
Khulisa helps families and communities support victims who need healing and offenders who want to make amends in order to provide support to the justice system by maximising community participation.