- Showing 7 posts filed under: Region: North America and Caribbean [–] published between Sep 01, 2011 and Sep 30, 2011 [Show all]
Restorative Justice Week 2011 materials now available
from the Correctional Service Canada website:
Every year, the Restorative Justice Division and the Chaplaincy Branch work collaboratively with community partners to develop a variety of complimentary resources to be shared with individuals and communities around the world. Included below are resources meant to inspire and assist those who plan to promote and celebrate the Week.
Circulos de Paz and the promise of peace: Restorative justice meets intimate violence
Circles of Peace/Circulos de Paz was founded in Nogales, Arizona in 2004 to address these myriad problems with both the criminal justice response to intimate violence and Batterer Intervention Programs. Circles of Peace is the first court-referred domestic violence treatment program to use a restorative justice circle approach to reduce violent behavior in families in the United States.
The program consists of twenty-six to fifty-two weeks of conferences, or "Circles," bringing partners who have been abusive (the "applicants") together with willing family members (including those who have been abused, the "participants"), support people, a trained professional facilitator, and community volunteers. The goal is to encourage dialogue about the incident, the history of violence in this family, and meaningful change.
An apology is not good enough and neither is a conviction
Accountability is most powerful when an individual fully understands the effects of their actions on other people and not just the impersonal state.
Some did as soon as they woke up the next day, bewildered and remorseful. Bold acts that drew cheers on the 15th were inexplicable and humiliating on the 16th. Even many of those who felt no remorse felt the lash of global village justice in all its forms.
Remorse, no matter how sincere, is not enough. We had a deal: we respected them and they respected us. They broke that deal on June 15 (albeit impulsively in many cases) and a price must be paid. There are strong and widespread views that the criminal justice system is not up to the task because it is too slow and too weak. But another, more apt reason is that it is too impersonal. A guilty plea and imposition of a fine teaches nothing of the harm that’s been done.
Where are the personal apologies for the Freedom Riders?
There has been only a single personal apology for the events that happened 50 years ago. Elwin Wilson, a former member of the KKK, drew the first blood of the Freedom Ride when he attacked John Lewis as he stepped into the bus station in Rock Hill, S.C. He traveled to Washington, D.C. in 2009 to find John Lewis -- now Congressman Lewis -- and to tell him he was sorry.
Congressman Lewis described the meeting to Oprah like this: "He said, 'I attacked you, and I'm sorry. I want to apologize. Will you accept my apology?' And I said, 'Yes.' And he gave me a hug, and he started crying. I hugged him back, and I shed some tears also."
"He's the first and only person who has ever apologized to me."
Alberta solicitor general to fight for restorative justice
from the article at CBC News:
Alberta's solicitor general is vowing to fight to restore funding for restorative justice programs in the face of mounting criticism from his party and a retired chief justice.
"I will fight to restore it," Frank Oberle told CBC News. "I'm going to fight to restore the grant money next year."
Oberle said he was forced to eliminate the $350,000 grant for the program to reach budget targets.
His department is responsible for jails in Alberta and most of his budget is taken up by salaries where there is no room to cut.
Murderers turned peacemakers
How is it that women, with dark pasts, serving time for murder and manslaughter, could possibly become honored peacemakers?
Their story is one of personal commitment to themselves and the community in which most are destined to live out their lives. “This is an environment filled with conflict and violence. There is a dire need and want for change,” says Susan Russo, one of the fifteen initial peacemakers, serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at the largest prison for women in the world, Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, CA. “Mediation interests all of us because we are lifers and long-termers hoping to make a difference in teaching our peers that there is a better way.”
Beginning her quest in 2007, Sue Russo wrote over 50 handwritten letters from prison to mediators all over California. Her letters went unanswered until August of 2009 when one of her letters made it to me, Laurel Kaufer, Esq., a Southern California mediator and peacemaker and founder of the post-Katrina Mississippi Mediation Project.
More tolerance in new Chicago Public Schools code of conduct
Chicago Public Schools has adopted a new student discipline policy that one parent group says moves the district a step away from zero tolerance.
Staff members are being told to treat minor infractions as learning opportunities to reinforce positive behavior. Out-of school suspensions are to be used as a last resort.
CPS officials said for the most serious infractions, restorative justice--programs such as peace circle and a jury of student peers determining punishment--can be offered in addition to suspensions and expulsions.