Sentencing circles for lawyers
If sentencing circles are fine for the criminal justice system, why shouldn’t they be an option at Law Society of Upper Canada disciplinary hearings?
In a recent case involving lawyer Terence John Robinson, an LSUC hearing panel had the task of deciding whether to allow a sentencing circle for him. Robinson, a member of the Wikwemikong First Nation, has been in hot water in relation to a 2009 conviction for aggravated assault. He subsequently admitted to conduct unbecoming a licensee but wants to return to his criminal law practice representing aboriginal clients. The panel then invited submissions on whether to hold a sentencing circle for him.
Restorative justice behind bars
This summer, Seattle University's Criminal Justice program took students out of the classroom and into prison cells. SU’s criminal justice chair and a sociology professor teamed up to create a new pilot course that provided a unique learning experience for students.
Restorative justice for veterans: The San Francisco Sheriff 's Department's Community of Veterans Engaged in Restoration (COVER)
....Veterans represent a rapidly growing segment of the jail population whose characteristics mirror those of the general jail population and include histories of substance abuse, inconsistent work histories and challenges related to maintaining family relationships.
Like most prisoners, they receive few services while incarcerated to address the myriad of health, mental health, and psychosocial issues that contribute to their incarceration and pose challenges upon release. The military discharge status of most justice-involved vets—less than honorable—makes them ineligible for many of the benefits and services offered by the Veterans Administration (VA).
Power of One: Restorative justice couples victims with offenders
from the article on CTV.ca:
....A woman named Marité has been taking part in the process, not by facing her sexually-abusive father, but rather, another man who committed similar acts.
She said that results have helped her cope with the damage she suffered.
"For him it was like I was his daughter," said Marité. "And I was able also to express my anger to him and that's what he wanted rather than silence from his daughter."
"I can now go forward because I'm not bound to my father anymore. I can leave him go."
Meeting the murderer: Profile of victim-offender dialogue facilitator
from the entry on Grits for Breakfast:
See an interesting article from the Christian Science Monitor about a boat builder from Maine who runs a non-profit facilitating victim-offender dialogue (VOD) between violent criminals and their victims or their families, which is an idea derived from "restorative justice" models.
Restorative justice provides new path for prisoners
....This is no television prison. There is no guard or glass wall. There are no handcuffs or restraints, just a couple of cameras and a conversation. A conversation about where they came from, why they’re here, but most importantly a conversation about where they’re going. It’s a path with few options.
“On the other side of that door, it’s either hell or redemption,” Baumgardner says. “You choose.”
“That door” leads to the bowels of Jefferson City Correctional Center, a maximum security prison. Starr, Baumgardner and King have all chosen the latter path. Hell is what got them here. Restorative Justice offers them a chance to change that.
NPR: Victims confront offenders, face to face
from Laura Sullivan's interview with Sujatha Baliga on Talk of the Nation:
BALIGA: Yes. And I said there's no chance. You know, this is not a case for restorative justice. The system is not amenable, particularly in your state. And I can't tell too many details, because we're still finishing things up with that case right now. It's not quite a done deal yet. But we're close.
And the mother of this young man was so persistent and told me that she had actually been meeting with the girl's parents. She and her husband were meeting with the girl's parents, and that the girl's parents actually were the one interested in restorative justice. And she said, Can I give them your information? I said I'd be happy to talk to them and tell you the same thing I'm telling you, which is that this is not happening.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
Listening to crime victims: North Carolina restorative justice conference
by Lisa Rea
When crime victims speak about the effect violent crime has had on their lives you have to listen. On June 9th I moderated a crime victims roundtable during the 3rd Annual Restorative Justice Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina coordinated this year by Campbell University Law School. The roundtable called "Listening to Crime Victims: Their Journeys Toward Healing" was sponsored by the Journey of Hope: From Violence to Healing. The four victims of violence who told their stories were Bill Pelke, chair, Journey of Hope: From Violence to Healing (Alaska), Stephen Watt, Stephen Watt Ministries (Wyoming) , Bess Klassen-Landis, musician and teacher (Vermont), and Kim Book, executive director, Victims Voices Heard (Delaware). No matter how many crime victims panels I have moderated the stories are always riveting and often what I hear the victims say is new even when I am familiar with the stories. I learn something new as the victims move along in their lives---their own personal journeys.
At this prison graduation, the focus is on knowing the effects of their crimes
....During this season of high school and college graduations, 16 men received a very different kind of diploma Monday at Columbia Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison.
Over three months, the inmates voluntarily completed a 30-session course on restorative justice, a curriculum meant to help them understand how much they'd harmed their victims, the community and themselves. For some of them, Monday's graduation ceremony was the first time they'd done anything worthy of even minimal praise.
"I've been in all sorts of programs and always been kicked out," said Darren Morris, 33, whose peers voted him class speaker.
Church arsonist doubts God will forgive him
A man who torched two Wetaskiwin churches in what a judge described as a "totally senseless wanton act of destruction" was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison.
But he was offered hope by one of the ministers whose church was destroyed.
"We have not been abandoned and we don't want you, Peter Terence Jones, to feel abandoned," Wetaskiwin First United Church minister Ruth Lumax told the 24-year-old arsonist in her victim impact statement, which was read in court.
Restorative Justice: Crime and Healing
"I have nowhere to talk about this except here in a prison setting," Peg said. "You are my community."
The circle grew close, intimate -- sacred -- as the three women spoke.
There were about 35 of us in all, sitting on hard plastic chairs. Twenty wore green: the inmates. The building was wrapped in razor wire. It was a maximum-security prison called Columbia Correctional Institution, in Portage, Wis. Built for 450 prisoners, it houses, two decades after it opened, about 900. The setting was old justice, but something new was happening.
Not all that new, maybe. Restorative Justice -- a multifaceted system of criminal justice and conflict resolution that puts healing and truth-telling at its core, not punishment, revenge or the culling out of humanity's undesirables -- has been around and evolving for about 20 years now. It's slowly gaining a foothold in court systems and schools around the world: It is part, I'm certain, of an invisible wave of change that is transforming the planet. Nothing about it is simple, but something precious beyond compare can emerge from the process. Suffering can abate, torn lives and broken communities can heal, good can come from bad.