- Showing 11 posts filed under: Practice [–] published between Nov 01, 2009 and Nov 30, 2009 [Show all]
Law school student asks: would victims really want restorative justice?
by Lisa Rea
I recently gave a speech at UC Davis Law School. Before the class the professor shared a comment made to him by one of the students in his class. A number of students had already explored restorative justice, perhaps having heard of it previously since the law school had hosted a number of events on the subject including bringing in guest speakers like me to speak in a classroom setting.
The student said this: "Restorative justice might be a good concept for the person who committed the crime since they may be able to understand the pain they caused that they might not otherwise be unaware of. However, for victims I think this is a waste of time. It probably just stirs up emotions unnecessarily and the session may turn into a shouting and crying match. But it still doesn’t change the victims’ pain or the harm that was caused."
Putting victims at the heart of justice
Promises to put victims at the heart of the justice system sound good but can have a hollow ring. Too often people find themselves lost in a maze of unfamiliar, complex and bureaucratic criminal justice process and procedures. Only to emerge feeling that their account of being harmed has not really been heard or, at least, not properly understood. So a youth justice system which satisfies 90% of crime victims and substantially reduces reoffending rates is well worth looking into.
Let mana grow
New Zealand and the US bear some resemblance as big-time human lock-ups. The US is world leader in incarceration and New Zealand is in the top quartile. New Zealand is the 125th most populated country in the world out of 258, yet the 57th most incarcerated. This gives new meaning to the cliché “punching above our weight.” I outlined three things New Zealand could offer to the US in this area: learnings about our system of restorative justice (with its emphasis on “repairing the harm”), our Maori-Pakeha experience of biculturalism, and an appreciation of the development of mana, that special Maori concept denoting personal bearing, presence, and character.
Chief Judge Evans to receive prestigious award
When Cook County's Chief Judge Timothy Evans is honored at the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday, it will be a landmark moment for the once-disgraced local Circuit Court.
....U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will present Judge Evans
with the prestigious William Rehnquist Award. Evans, first elected to
the court in 1992 and chief judge for the past eight years, is being
honored for integrity and judicial innovation.
City programs honored during excellence awards' 20th anniversary
The Awards for Municipal Excellence will be celebrating 20 years of success as it honors eight innovative city programs during [the National League of City's] Congress of Cities and Exposition, this week in San Antonio.
“These eight Awards for Municipal Excellence cities have improved the quality of life for their citizens by developing creative solutions to pressing local problems,” said Donald J. Borut, NLC executive director. “I congratulate them for establishing model programs that can serve as positive examples for other cities.”
The purpose of ‘kooky’ in restorative justice circles
People that participate in Circles with me, become really honest about what they thought at first. This honest testimony about what people thought about a Circle at first, and what they think now is an endorsement for the process.
The most recent description like this used the term ” kooky“. It’s been mentioned that they seemed wierd. One advocate says that when I first described it he thought it was for little kids. Now he tells people how effective the Circle is. He participates strongly and completely in every Circle we have done together, from college classes, to residential treatment programs, half-way houses and underage consumption panels.
Implementing restorative justice: A guide for schools
Recently, the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority released the guide Implementing Restorative Justice: A guide for Schools as part of a series of resources created to help with the statewide implementation of restorative justice for working with young offenders. Developed with assistance from juvenile justice practitioners and school personnel, it provides guidance for implementing policy and practice in both elementary and secondary schools. The goals of the guide include:
- Introduce to school personnel the concepts of restorative justice and restorative discipline.
- Offer new tools that can reduce the need for school exclusion and juvenile justice system involvement in school misconduct.
- Offer ways to enhance the school environment to prevent conflict and restore relationships after conflict arises.
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.
Restorative justice and victim services collaboration
....I had a number of energizing engagements coordinated by AUT’s Restorative Justice Centre. The last engagement was a keynote for the national Victim Support Conference, held in Wellington. I had been asked to speak about victims’ justice needs, how restorative justice seeks to address them, and how the restorative justice and victim support communities could connect better with one another. I was encouraged by the group’ enthusiasm for engaging with restorative justice. In fact, in at least one area in the South Island, such collaboration has already begun between youth justice and victim support.The question in New Zealand now is how to move this forward in both the youth justice and adult justice spheres.
Lisa Rea interviews Stephen Watt
By Lisa Rea:
The following interview is with Stephen Watt, a former Wyoming state trooper and two term state legislator who was shot multiple times by a fleeing bank robber. Lisa Rea's interview focuses on how the impact of a severely violent crime continues 20 years later. Mr. Watt has met with the offender, forgiven him and a friendly relationship has grown up between them. Nevertheless, he continues to suffer. Can restorative justice open doors for further healing in a victim of violent crime who is suffering continuing, severe trauma?
More on restorative youth justice in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland seems to be going well, with only three reservations:
- juveniles only
- run by the state -- not much community ownership
- and putting pressure on the community-based programmes (which Harry Mika and Kieran McEvoy have written about) by competing for funding and referrals -- rather like WalMart putting small shopkeepers out of business!