Restorative Justice listening . . . to bare witness
from the blog article by Kris Miner:
That is an intentional typo. I’m going to try to explain the kind of listening that works best in Restorative Justice Peacemaking Circles. Not listening to respond, not active listening so you can reframe and respond. The kind of listening that is free of judgement. Listening that could be called ‘bearing witness’ to another person. What does to bear witness mean?
People are not programs
from the blog article by Hal Pepinsky:
...From victim-offender mediation trainings and practice, I learned that regardless of formal structure and training, people will apply their underlying habits and perspective as mediators to doing “restorative justice.” Many advocates and practitioners of this model of responding to conflict in practice share my observation that in practice, many mediators concentrate on following the detailed letter of what to say and do, as they have been instructed to do, and in so doing, acts more like judges or arbitrators who interpret and implicitly tell parties what is what, what they need to do, and have a fixed notion going into mediation as to terms of an appropriate agreement. One prime example is requiring “offenders” explicitly to apologize to “victims.” Another example, one that has even formally been introduced into some theories and practices of “restoration,” is the belief that “offenders” must be “shamed” into overt remorse for their actions, and that a good agreement requires that “offenders” somehow “right the wrongs” they have done, both for their sakes, and for the sake of “repairing the harm” to meet “victims’” needs.
Circle with diverse members, harmed, harmer and community role models.
from the blog article by Kris Miner:
What a fortunate place I have, having kept 1,000′s of Circles in a range of contexts. I’ve also been fortunate to train a few hundred in the process, allowing me to hear stories back on what worked well, and what was a lesson.
It is soo important that Circles have a diverse mix of perspectives. This takes time, in training youth or community volunteers about the dynamics of participating in Circle. However, by training others, you yourself will be learning more about the fundamental belief systems that make Circles work.
What to do when you've made someone angry
Several weeks later, when I was describing the situation to a friend of mine, Ken Hardy, a professor of family therapy, he smiled.
"You made a classic mistake," he told me.
"Me? I made the mistake?" I was only half joking.
"Yes. And you just made it again," he said. "You're stuck in your perspective: You didn't mean to be late. But that's not the point. The point is that you were late. The point — and what's important in your communication — is how your lateness impacted Eleanor."
Corktown restorative justice: Community wholeness
The Corktown restorative justice group was initiated following the October 2010 beating of one homeless member of the Corktown community by a resident member. Charges were brought in that case and a trial in that case is anticipated by year’s end. But in the wake of the incident, concerned that this represented a pattern of violence and harassment against street folks, some 40 people gathered to explore alternative forms of community justice.
Since that time a number of things have been accomplished:
….9) Guests at Manna Meal developed a Kitchen and Street Code for posting and circulation among themselves.
Doing restorative justice delicately, deliberately and with dedication
….The things we explore bring us back to key concepts, best practice, ethical efforts. As practitioners of Restorative Justice, I think being delicate, deliberate and dedicated as I have experienced Kay, and tried to be myself, is helpful.
Being delicate. Holding offenders accountable, while holding and creating a strong relationships. Relationships, respect, responsiblity the key pillars of Restorative Justice, can’t me created with force. Check out this link, at 2:30, the segment is promoting OWN Chalkboard Wars. I love how Gayle King puts it “if kids don’t think you care, they don’t care what you think”. Circles are the most powerful and effective ways to show kids you care, and to teach kids a way to care about each other.
Your grace with sorrow informs your restorative justice approach
....The type of “informed” work that influences practitioners, the topic of this blog, comes down to the way we carry our own sorrow. I think this impacts the manner and approach with we use with victims, offenders, and community members. From the range of simple to extremely complex cases, our own sorrows (and the grace of which we carry sorrow) comes along to our facilitation experiences. The experiences we have a facilitator also inform our ability to carry sorrow with grace.
I enjoy restorative conferencing. I've been awed by the way people share their hearts and address the harms they've caused or experienced. While not everyone will go into a conference, I like offering an opportunity. I've learned that I can serve just by listening to stories when people aren't interested in the conference process. They are interested in someone who will listen to them.
The broken family
....Much has been written about the sociopathic behavior of child molesters, particularly if they are adults who molest their own children. Society has been plagued by such behavior both in the family and in the church. When this type of behavior surfaces in a sleepy agricultural town whose family values embody the very essence of its people, the alleged perpetrators are never able to regain their reputation. People begin to look over their shoulders and question whether their neighbors are who they think they are. The concepts of trust and faith are rocked to the bone. This is why few crimes carry as much social disgrace as child molestation. Most people would rather be accused of armed robbery.
Can I cry?
I have a confession to make. I cry at the drop of a hat. Movies, television shows, commercials, stories – it doesn't matter. I can be in tears in 0.2 seconds.
So, it may be a surprise to folks that know me to learn that I don’t cry when I’m facilitating. I’m tempted at times, but I haven’t actually shed tears during a conference. I've been thinking about this recently after a training event in Panama where several Prison Fellowship leaders were talking about facilitating the Sycamore Tree Project®. The training had been intense with personal stories and a lot of tears. In the middle of all the sharing, one of the leaders asked if it was okay for the facilitator to cry.