Prison for teen who lit "agender" youth's skirt on fire thwarts healing
from the article by Sue Burrell on HuffPost:
The news of Richard Thomas' seven-year prison sentence raises fresh questions about how the justice system intervenes in dangerous, but clearly adolescent behavior. Richard, age 16, was prosecuted in a California adult court after setting on fire the skirt of 18-year-old "Sasha" Fleischman, who was asleep on a local bus. Sasha identifies as "agender" meaning neither male nor female. Three days after the incident, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office charged Richard as an adult, alleging assault and aggravated mayhem as hate crimes. The charging decision completely bypassed the juvenile court system....
When victims speak up in court—in defense of the criminals
from the article by Andrew Cohen in The Atlantic:
One of the most profound changes in criminal justice over the past 40 years has been the rise of the victims' lobby. Essentially shut out of the core of the process until the 1970s, the victims' rights movement today can cite legislation from sea to sea, chapter and verse under both federal and state laws, that broadens the rights of victims to participate in the trials of those accused of harming them or their families. The Department of Justice's 2012 "Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance," for example, totals 66 pages and barely scratches the surface of what similar state guidelines reveal.
On the defensive: The need for restorative justice
from the article by Anthony Cotton on The Wisconsin Law Journal:
In 1993, the Wisconsin Constitution was amended to give crime victims certain privileges.
Those privileges include, but are not limited to, restitution, compensation, the right to confer with the prosecution and the right to speak at sentencing.
Abuse forum must have 'emphasis on restorative justice' say MSPs
from the article on STV News:
A plan to offer child abuse victims a forum to relive their experiences must be accompanied by an emphasis on achieving justice for survivors, a committee of MSPs has concluded.
The Scottish Government wants to establish a National Confidential Forum (NCF) to "provide an opportunity for adults who were placed in institutional care as children to recount their experiences in a confidential, non-judgemental and supportive setting".
For restorative justice, the devil is in the details
....The ordinance makes provision for existing agencies or non-profits to run the restorative justice component on a case-by-case referral basis, with instructions that the contracted program “may seek to involve the victim as well as the offender” in the restorative justice process. In addition the contracted program both makes the decision as to what will it take to bring restoration as well as to ultimately sign off on whether or not restoration was done.
Since that is one of the basic tenets or restorative justice—to bring victim and offender together to restore the whole—it would seem that the programs would almost always bring in the victims, as well as let the victims take the lead in deciding the restorative action.
'Why I must speak out to stop my rapist being freed'
After Dr Claire Chung was raped by a stranger at knifepoint, she took two extraordinary and courageous steps.
Firstly, she confronted him face to face after his conviction, as part of a programme known as “restorative justice”. Then she waived her anonymity, speaking of the decision she took to face the man who had attacked her.
Now she is speaking out again, this time to voice her concerns at a parole system which could free Stephen Allen Gale early next year.
Review: The Final Gift: A documentary film
The Final Gift-- A Documentary Film offers an intimate look into one woman’s journey of healing following the violent death of her brother. Therese Bartholemew’s brother, Steve, died after being shot in an altercation at a club. This film results from her attempt to understand what happened and its impact on their family. It chronicles their emotions and responses from receiving the first phone call to the sentencing to Therese’s meeting with the offender.
Victims of Crime Reform Bill to increase RJ referrals
The Victims of Crime Reform Bill will soon return for its second reading in the House. The Bill introduces a package of measures that are aimed at strengthening existing legislation to better provide for the needs of victims of crime.
Of significance for restorative justice providers is the proposal to increase the number of cases referred to restorative justice. This is in recognition of the domestic and international research showing extremely high levels of satisfaction amongst victims who go through the RJ process.
Victims of antisocial behaviour to decide on punishment
Victims of antisocial behaviour are to decide how offenders are punished under a "community remedy" power to be detailed by Theresa May in a speech at the Conservative party conference.
The home secretary will say on Tuesday that she wants to change the law to empower victims to ensure they get some form of reparation by choosing from a "menu" of punishment options that would include a form of restorative justice.
Select committee urged to avoid courtroom 'Oprahfication'
from the article on Voxy.co.nz:
Rethinking Crime and Punishment agrees that victims should be able to provide information to the court about the effects of offending; and the harm they have suffered. However, it does not believe that the presentation of a victim impact statement in the Court, was the best way to achieve it.