- Showing 10 posts filed under: Region: North America and Caribbean [–], Juvenile [–] [Show all]
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.
Approaching juvenile crime head on
From the article by Leila day:
When people get into trouble with the law, they normally don’t have a chance to have a conversation with their victims. To explain what happened. Hear about the damage they caused. Say they’re sorry. But there’s a growing trend to try and make that happen, so both parties can move on.
Restorative Justice brings together the accused, the victim, supportive parties, and authorities. All at the same table in a safe space. It’s an old idea and it’s international. In fact, in New Zealand, where it was originally used by indigenous Maoris, it's a mandatory part of the criminal justice system. Here, in the U.S, these community conferences are increasingly being used in prisons, schools and as an alternative to juvenile detention.
Victim makes teen car prowlers face up to crime spree
from the article by Christine Clarridge in The Seattle Times:
When Eliza Webb found a stranger’s cellphone inside her ransacked car last month, it didn’t take a lot of sleuthing to determine two things: one, the cellphone probably belonged to the person who’d prowled her car; and two, the culprit was likely a teen.
Webb, who works with high-school students and is married to a man who has paid dearly for a youthful indiscretion, paused before summoning police.
“I think bringing the police and courts into something like this can have long-term, devastating consequences for kids,” said Webb, 29, of West Seattle.
Juvenile offenders must meet with victims under new detention discipline program
The South Carolina agency that handles minor offenders under age 18 is changing how it punishes teens for any wrongdoing they commit once they are in jail.
The state Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has begun a process where the youth will meet with their victims and negotiate their punishment. The agency’s Director of Restorative Justice Andy Broughton says the agency is trying to move away from simply locking up offenders in isolation.
Restorative justice for juvenile offenders
The recent Supreme Court decision in Miller v. Alabama, which concerns the imposition of life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders, offers an important opportunity for people of faith to revisit our civic responsibilities with respect to children and youth.
Punishment v. restoration: A comparative analysis of juvenile delinquency law in the United States and Mexico
....Within Mexico, the State of Oaxaca has developed a code that incorporates these human rights principles and sets forth procedures for using restorative justice conferences as an alternative to the adversarial court system.... Oaxaca’s approach exemplifies the restorative model contemplated in Mexico’s national constitutional reforms.
Bullying not just a school issue
For first time offenders, the juvenile court can try to mediate a resolution without the issue going to a courtroom. This is accomplished through mediation, informal adjustments and restorative justice.
Restorative justice gets the victim and the accused and their parents in a room to discuss the issue before it can make its way to court.
Law is more than a profession, it's a calling: "Making a difference" through restorative justice
from the article by Michael C. Deering:
Before entering law school, a soon-to-be attorney dreams of “making a difference.” He dreams of representing clients as he advocates for truth and justice, as he lends his voice to those who cannot speak, as he defends the innocent and the young, and sets the wrong to right.
Then, reality sets in. Dreams of justice and zealous representation give way to stress and the everyday rigors of law school. Reading, briefing, and writing overwhelm the student. After three years of arduous work, the student graduates. Facing bar preparation, job searching in an economy that causes seasoned attorneys to shudder, and a mountain of educational debt, the graduate accepts work wherever he can find it.
Phoebe Prince bullies sentenced, but how do they make things right?
Five teens who faced criminal charges for bullying in connection with the 2010 suicide of Phoebe Prince in South Hadley, Mass., have been sentenced to probation and community service.
While the courtroom chapter of the drama in central Massachusetts is largely over, bullying-prevention advocates hope that the work of “restorative justice” has just begun. Now, they say, the defendants should use their experience to help other young people steer clear of bullying and the deep harm it causes.
Resolution by consensus
From the article by Pam Adams in the Journal Star:
Community peace conferences have already had an effect on Peoria police Sgt. Shawn Wetzel, and the program hasn't officially started yet.
"Being in law enforcement 17 years, we've always seen people who hate each other," he said. "To see the victim and offender getting along at the end of the process is a surprise for me."
The "process" is the peace conference, face-to-face meetings between the victim, the offender and trained volunteers who, jointly, work out a resolution for the offense.