- Showing 10 posts filed under: Practice [–] published between Jan 01, 2010 and Jan 31, 2010 [Show all]
As restorative justice practitioners, hard work needed regarding victims: Five things to do
I want to offer some lessons for people who do restorative justice. These lessons are for working with victims in either a victim-offender dialogue or a talking circle. I think its important to keep up our compassion towards victims skills. To really do our best, I have 5 things to work really hard at:
Youth Justice in Western Australia
The aim of this paper is to advance debate about the future of youth justice in Western Australia. The focus is on how we can improve outcomes for the small number of children who are coming into contact with the criminal justice system. It argues that youth justice practice has been allowed to drift over the past decade, principally because of lack of focus on the specific needs of young offenders due to the subordinate status of youth justice within what is essentially an adult focused correctional bureaucracy, and because of waning commitment to the principle of diversion on behalf of the police. These two phenomena are interconnected. Lack of clarity regarding the role of youth justice has led to a decline in the quality of support for children and families at risk, which has, in turn, undermined confidence within the police regarding the benefits of diversion from the system. Diversion is simply about choosing the least intrusive option when dealing with young offenders.
Going Off Script: What is appropriate for a facilitator to say?
Recently, I was in a pre-conference with a young man who had stolen various types of signs -- street signs, stop signs, farm signs -- and felt it was just a joke and couldn't understand why it was such a big deal. I found myself wanting to tell a story about an incident that happened when I was in high school or college when a family friend was hit by a tractor trailer. The problem was that someone had stolen the stop sign at the intersection and the truck driver didn't know he was supposed to stop.
All this came to mind when I heard the young man say that taking the signs was just a joke and "everyone does it." I found myself wanting to lecture and tell him the story about my family friend and how the person who stole the sign was really responsible for the accident. But, I bit my tongue and listened to him tell his story. I did ask him to think about what the possible outcomes of taking the signs could be.
The conversation did cause me to re-examine my role and ask what is appropriate for a facilitator to say in a pre-conference setting.
How to run a meeting like a restorative justice talking circle
from Kris Miner's blog:
Not everyone is comfortable with Circle, so over time, I have found ways to engage bits without making people freak-out and shut down. On the same hand, I’ve gotten quite confident at running a Circle, with skeptical people. (imagine a circle of attorney’s!)
Running a meeting like a Circle, I’ve promoted the interactive meeting format to include:
A restorative justice approach to working with children in residential care
From the paper by Dr. Willie McCarney presented at the 1st World Congress on Restorative Juvenile Justice. Lima Peru, 4-7 November 2009.
A child is at greater risk of obtaining a criminal record following entry to the care system than a child living at home with the support of his/her family. Consequently, there is a very real need to focus thinking on the reasons why this should be and to develop a response which may reduce that likelihood.
One of the greatest risk indicators is living in residential care and the collective influence of living with other troubled young people. Research suggests that much of the early offending takes place in the residential children's home and as the situation deteriorates increasingly the police are called in to defuse it and more often than not an arrest is the outcome.
The research referred to looks at offending behaviour in “regular” children’s homes. I will be focusing on Intensive Support Units which deal with the most damaged and troubled young people in residential care. Many of these young people already have a history of serious offending on entry to the units. Court appearances frequently relate to offences which predate their arrival. That is not to say that the research I will be commenting on does not apply to these particular children. Indeed the use of Restorative Practices is even more important in their case. What it does mean is that the baggage children carry with them on entry makes working with them so much more difficult. It also means that formal approaches like family group conferencing are not always practical. Responses need to be immediate and “on the hoof”. These might be things like a “corridor conference”, “restorative chat” or “restorative discussion”. Success depends not so much on the response chosen but rather on whether a “restorative ethos” permeates the unit.
Jan 18, 2010 Practice
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.)
My Classroom's Journey with Restorative Practices
From the 7 January 2010 Restorative Practices E-Forum by Deanna L. Webb:
When I graduated from college with a degree in special education, I was prepared to offer students specially designed instruction, program modifications and a variety of teaching techniques to match their individual learning styles, as well as tools and techniques they could use to be successful with academics. What I was not prepared for, however, was the need to fill in the blanks in their lives that were not a part of the typical academic school environment. This became especially evident when I began teaching in the emotional support setting. My students all lacked a sense of community, and consequently they also lacked a sense of accountability. During my first few years as a teacher in this setting, I struggled to connect with students and to keep them engaged in the school environment. Some students did very well, but I was unable to reach others. The tools I acquired in IIRP classes and then used in my classroom allowed me to build community and teach accountability and respect to a very challenging population of students.
The first change I made to begin building community was to rearrange my classroom management system to reflect the new focus of our classroom. I created “Community, Inc.,” a classroom management system that was “publicly owned; created communities; invested in relationships and made a profit from the positive growth and relationships it created.” In this new system every student had a job, along with responsibilities to the overall “company.” My classroom had “corporate meetings” at least twice a day, and sometimes more frequently if we needed to address an issue in the classroom. “Community, Inc.” pushed the typical boundaries of classroom rules to a system where the students decided the norms of behavior in the classroom, along with how each student would be held accountable, not just to the teacher and administration, but also to the community as a whole.
Restorative justice can alter behavior of perpetrators, teach empathy
....Q: What do you say to people who would challenge restorative justice as being soft on criminals?
It is just the opposite. It is not at all easy to sit in front of someone you have harmed and listen to how their lives have been affected by your actions; to hear your family say they don't understand why this happened and break down into tears; or to hear your teacher/coach/youth minister/best friend express their disappointment at your actions.
It becomes very hard to keep up a mask of indifference and solitude and pretend that other human beings are not affected by your behavior.
The bottom-line goal for restorative justice is stopping crime by holding offenders accountable in the future. All of this can take place within the current justice system. We don't have to start from scratch.
Restorative justice offers an opportunity, not a guarantee, for healing
from Lorenn Walker's blog:
“Not everyone’s wounds will heal” after being victimized by crime, an experienced judge says. This is true. Some people will never heal. Restorative justice is not a panacea that will heal every single person’s wounds suffered from being a crime victim. Restorative justice offers only the opportunity for healing, not a guarantee, but we know from an abundance of research that restorative justice helps many people.
Having no boundaries works . . . when it comes to volunteer recruitement
I got the wrong number and tried to get the person to become a volunteer.
A man on the treadmill next to me, tried making small talk, I tried to get him to volunteer. Someone came to the office to use the phone. I got him to volunteer. To convert a wrong number to a volunteer, that’s a new one, even for me.
Jan 01, 2010 Practice