Editorial: The best arena for victim redress?
from the article in the Sage e-bulletin from the Church Council on Justice and Corrections:
Can the justice system ever be the arena for victims’ redress if redress means true healing and moving on from trauma and its effects? A criminal justice system built on punitive measures and adversarial posturing exacerbates the victim wound and creates even more layers of self protection against active resolution of one’s own wounding and the wounding one does to another. Further the judicial system is the state’s arena, not the victim’s, for redress against crimes committed and therefore its capacity to adequately redress victims’ needs where those needs are most required is difficult at best. Victims are left with insufficient avenues to get to the root of needed healing. And incarceration that does not consistently include those rehabilitation options that contribute to victim redress, does not hold real solutions to changing behaviour or creating public and victim safety in the long term.
Many times when I talk to people about crime and justice, the discussion centres on “those offenders” needing to be punished because of what they have done. Even victims are “others” as some want to “protect” them, others want to blame them for what happened and yet other expect them to forgive and get over it. Very rarely do we talk about human beings who have been harmed by crime or who have committed crimes.
Transforming campus culture to prevent rape: The possibility and promise of restorative justice as a response to campus sexual violence
From the article by Alletta Brenner on The Harvard Journal of Law & Gender Blog:
Though feminists have long argued that rape is linked to sex discrimination, legal responses to rape tend to ignore the ways that social and cultural norms contribute to sexual violence. One exception, however, exists in the context of federal anti-discrimination law under Title IX, which applies to colleges and universities that receive federal funds. Under the legal framework established by Title IX, rape constitutes a form of severe sexual harassment, to which educational institutions are legally obligated to respond.An institution’s failure to do so is considered evidence of sex discrimination and may subject it to both federal penalties and civil liability. Recently, this obligation was further strengthened by the passage of legislation that codifies particular aspects of what campus grievance processes for rape survivors must include and requires schools to take affirmative steps to transform campus culture to prevent rape.
Video: How parents can use restorative questions
This short video originally posted on the Restorative Works Learning Network includes parents and young people discussing the use of restorative practices in the school setting and how the restorative questions allow children to stop and think about their actions. The video also talks about how these use of these questions in the home can transform the response to conflicts and activities in the home in a way that deescalates and allows children and youth develop their own thought processes.
A restorative way to minimize crime
from the article in the Capitol Hill Times:
After months of headlines about the recent street robberies on Capitol Hill, Andrea Brenneke of Compassionate Seattle is hoping to change how justice is viewed in Seattle’s East Precinct. Rather than turning to strictly punitive measures, Brenneke and the SPD are now beginning a pilot program of Mayor McGinn’s Restorative Justice Initiative in the precinct, which constitutes the Capitol Hill, First Hill, and Central District neighborhoods, and aims to combat crime by bridging the gap between offenders and victims.
Faith groups and restorative justice
A government minister, Jeremy Wright, recently raised hopes of a new approach to criminal justice for England and Wales based on restorative justice. Disappointingly, it is being introduced half-heartedly. The Opposition is attacking it for the wrong reasons; the voluntary sector seems to have no clear strategy for making it happen, and it could fall into the lap of profit-oriented companies. But faith-based groups could fill the gap and help to transform the system.
Restorative justice is based not on ‘returning evil for evil’ but on healing the harm, and where possible enabling the victim to tell the offender the effects of the crime on him or her, and to ask questions. This can be an eye-opener to the offender. Unlike the adversarial criminal trial, the process encourages empathy on both sides, although of course it doesn’t guarantee it.
Six boys, one cop, and the road to restorative justice
from the article by Molly Rowan Leach:
It’s a warm summer night in Longmont, Colorado, a vibrant midsized city in the Rocky Mountains. On a dare, six young men aged between ten and thirteen years plan to break into a giant chemical processing plant. High levels of alcohol and testosterone, peer pressure and a moonless night propel the group towards the locked gates of the factory, and they break in.
Across town at the Police Department, Officer Greg Ruprecht is about to embark on night patrol. A former Army Captain and top of his class at the Police Academy, Ruprecht believes his job is to arrest everyone who commits a crime and throw away the key. Justice means punishment: an eye for an eye, no questions asked. You do something bad and you get what you deserve. There’s a clear line to walk. But what occurred at the chemical plant that night changed him forever by awakening a very different sensibility: instead of an instrument of vengeance, justice requires that we work to restore all those who have been injured by a crime.
Do not jail thieves and fraudsters, law professor says
From the BBC News UK article:
In a pamphlet released by the Howard League for Penal Reform, Prof Andrew Ashworth said jail should be reserved for offenders who commit crimes of a violent, sexual or threatening nature.
Fines and community sentences would be more effective for others and reduce the prison population in England and Wales by almost 6,000, he said.
But the government said it had "no intention" of changing the law.
Restorative justice: Evidence-based practice or practice in search of evidence
From the Justice Management Institute Blog:
From time to time, we will get a question from our partners about the evidence behind restorative justice: Does research show that it works? Is it an evidence-based practice? I quietly groan a little when I get these questions – not because they are bad questions but because the answers are complex and elusive. In many ways, it feels like I am offering more questions than answers when I do respond. Nonetheless, I decided this week to take on the subject, because it is a growing movement in criminal justice (and juvenile justice) and it can be a promising complement to some of the evidence-based practices that have emerged from the research.
Boyes-Watson: ‘Justice is simply not a spectator sport’
from the article on The Chautauquan Daily:
The criminal justice system is composed of institutions and practices that punish criminal activity. But does it really bring justice to the people it’s meant to protect?
Carolyn Boyes-Watson argues that America’s criminal justice system does not focus on the particular needs of victims and their communities. She proposes a system called “restorative justice,” which would do just that.