Guardian Charity Awards 2013 winner: Yorkshire and Humberside Circles of Support and Accountability
from the article from the Guardian:
YHCOSA works to rehabilitate and reintegrate socially isolated sexual offenders, with the aim of making sure they don't reoffend. Trained volunteers form "circles" of four to six members who meet with a "core member" once a week for around a year, discussing their offences, concerns and ideas for the future.
An Outcome Evaluation of Minnesota Circles of Support and Accountability (MnCoSA)
....The use of the COSA model with high-risk sex offenders began in a small Mennonite community in Canada in the early 1990s. Grounded in the tenets of the restorative justice philosophy, the COSA model attempts to help sex offenders successfully reenter http://www.doc.state.mn.us/publications/documents/9-12MnCOSAResearchinBrief.pdfthe community and, thus, increase public safety, by providing them with social support as they try to meet their employment, housing, treatment, and other social needs. Each COSA consists of anywhere between four and six community volunteers, one of whom is a primary volunteer, who meet with the offender on a regular basis. The results from several evaluations of the Canadian COSA model suggest it significantly reduces sex offender recidivism....
Restorative justice & stories for resilient families and happy individuals
Feiler discusses how one night he pondered: “What is the secret sauce that holds a family together? What are the ingredients that make some families effective, resilient, happy?” and went on to learn what he could to answer these questions.
His research led him to the work of psychologists Marshall Duke and Sara Fivush, which showed: “The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.”
Rehabilitation is everyone’s responsibility
Recently, I watched a Vimeo video about the reform of the Solomon Islands Correctional Services. It starts with an individual describing his crime and how the local traditional justice would’ve responded with banishment. The current system wasn’t very different; the banishment happened with a prison sentence. From that point, different officials and community volunteers describe a process of shifting the system culture from punitive to rehabilitative. It’s a shift that focuses on needs and relationships.
Prison experiences of self forgiveness
Crime challenges communities; criminal activity is an assault on civic society – individuals who break the law are deemed to have stepped outside of society. Yet prison as a response to crime can also be read as an assault on community; often those imprisoned were never fully integrated into society.
A second chance at Curt's Cafe
Curt’s Cafe, 2922 Central St., is an unlikely crossroads for the two: Trieschmann hires at-risk young adults, particularly those with criminal records, providing them with hard-to-find job training and work experience. The non-profit restaurant is one of the only adult ex-offender re-entry programs in a city that focuses most of its re-entry resources on at-risk youths.
Trieschmann said the road to opening the experimental business was far from smooth, with some neighbors concerned about the business drawing former criminals to Central Street. Still, it’s an experiment that restorative justice advocates and even Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said is worth a shot.
Parole, release and restorative justice: Minister and National Council for Correctional Services
The meeting provided an opportunity for the Portfolio Committee (PC) to engage with the Minister and the National Council for Correctional Services (NCCS) on matters of parole and release, with particular emphasis on the position of those sentenced to life imprisonment (lifers) and the role of the restorative justice processes.
from the entry by Maanda Ntsandeni on Aljazeera:
....My journey to making Parole Camp began four years ago when a friend, Andrew May, invited me to South Africa's Pollsmoor Prison. Andrew, an American studying for his Masters of Law degree, was running a class on the Restorative Justice System for inmates approaching their release.
Like many South Africans frustrated by the country's soaring crime rates, I was deeply prejudiced towards anybody who had served time in prison - choosing to focus on my belief that they deserved punishment while overlooking the fact that they had served their dues behind bars.
I am meeting with the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights this morning.
This is what I will be saying.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am pleased to have this opportunity to address you and the rest of the committee regarding Bill C-10, The Safe Streets & Community Act.
....My daughter, Candace, was 13 years old when she was abducted and found murdered six weeks later. We lived without knowing the details of what happened for two decades.
Healing and "Collateral Damage": Prison is above all about loss
from the entry on Prison Culture:
About three weeks ago, I was privileged to keep a circle for the family of a young man who is serving a recently-imposed sentence of 7 years in prison. I am friendly with the young man’s sister and she was the one who asked me to organize a healing circle for the family. I was really blessed that a friend of mine who is a wonderful circle keeper partnered with me. The key to keeping a good circle is preparation and it took us almost a month to set this one up. We had to talk to everyone who was going to participate before we could actually keep the circle.
After speaking to everyone involved, it became clear to us that the main emotions that folks wanted to process were grief and anger. I want to talk a bit about both.