- Showing 8 posts filed under: Theory [–] published between Feb 01, 2010 and Feb 28, 2010 [Show all]
Restorative justice and society
by Hans Barendrecht, Martine Cammeraat and Esther Klaassen of Gevangenenzorg Nederland, the Prison Fellowship affiliate in the Netherlands.
....The most important core value of Gevangenenzorg Nederland is the concept of merciful justice. This is an exciting concept that, at first, could seem like a contradiction in terms. It is not justice as contained in criminal law. Our judicial system is based on the principles of legitimacy and proportionality. This means that the punisher is working in accordance with the law and that the punishment is proportional to the offence or the crime. This is justice whereby the law may take its course but no restoration or fresh prospects are put forward.
On the other hand it is not the intention that merciful justice should be thought to be a denial of the existence of guilt and harm. Not at all! If that were to happen justice would lose all meaning. Without guilt there is no injustice and without harm no need for restoration.
What is justice? State program brings victims and offenders face to face
Martha Early, a middle-aged single mother, and Andrew Papke, the chaplain's assistant, sit silently across from each other in the chapel, their hands clasped tightly across a wooden table. To Early's right sits a stack of pictures of her daughter Beth, killed -- along with her boyfriend, Daniel London -- by a teenage drunken driver in 1996. In front of her sits a well-worn binder bursting with colorful stationery and letters full of memories of Beth; she brought them to share with Andrew. Next to the binder is her Bible.
Early gazes at Papke with a look of calm sadness, while Papke's head hangs solemnly. Seconds turn into minutes, and neither one moves. It seems as if the slightest murmur would send them back to earth, where they will be forced to communicate with words.
Finally, Early squeezes Papke's hand.
"I love you, Andrew," she whispers.
"I love you, too," he answers hoarsely.
Within moments, Papke's arms -- the very same arms that steered a car headlong into Beth Early -- are encircling her mother. After engaging in a brief hug, Martha Early gets ready to begin her three-hour drive back to Austin. Andrew returns to his prison cell at the Walls Unit in Huntsville, where he is serving 40 years for intoxication manslaughter.
PiRi explores restorative sessions
from Sue Klassen's article in the newsletter of Partners in Restorative Initiatives (PiRi):
PiRI is exploring the possible use of Restorative Sessions, based on research conducted by Lorenn Walker in the Pono Kaulike program in Hawaii. This pilot program, which reportedly achieved a nearly 50% drop in recidivism and high satisfaction from participants, combined traditional restorative conferencing procedures with Restorative Sessions, meetings that allow offenders to discuss their situations even when their victims decide against joining in the process.
Like PiRI’s work in the Town Courts, the Pono Kaulike program deals with misdemeanor level cases in which many victims choose not to participate.
Panel: Tribunals as restorative justice
from Erin Walrath's blog:
Just a day ago I attended a panel titled Tribunals as Restorative Justice. The purpose behind this attendance was to orient myself with the judicial side of tribunals. Technically, I would argue that there is not another side of tribunals but I am sure that others would disagree with me. (Assuming that some others see tribunals as a sort of a SA Truth and Reconciliation equal, though they are quite different).
The panel was a number of Korbel professors... with a range of knowledge regarding law, international law, and tribunals. Restorative justice was the primary concern. It incorporates a focus on victims, the harm done and the needs of those harmed, obligations and accountability, and participation of relevant stakeholders.
According to Susan Sharpe (in Restorative Justice: A Vision for Healing and Change) there is an aim to put key decisions in the hands of those most affected by crime, make justice more healing and, ideally, more transformative, and reduce the likelihood or future offenses. Restorative justice is more common in European court systems but it seems is making its way into the US, especially in juvenile cases... so I have heard.
To follow a true R.J. model then, the victim is involved in the process and feels heard and satisfied at the outcome, offenders must understand how their actions affect others and accept responsibility for them, outcomes must repair the harm done and address the reasons behind the offense, and both the victim and offender gain a sense of "closure".
Essential values of restorative justice
from the blog Minds on Fire:
The purpose of restorative processes is:
- to empower victims by providing them a strong voice
- to demonstrate to offenders the harm they cause by their actions
- to provide a safe forum where the consequences of crime and remorse for criminal acts can encounter each other.
'Pizza thief' walks the line
From the Los Angeles Times article by Jack Leonard:
If he ever returns to prison, Jerry Dewayne Williams knows he'll probably never get out.
To stay clear of trouble, he has left behind the Compton neighborhood where police knew him and cut ties with friends from wilder days. Once a hard partyer, the 43-year-old says he prefers the company of a mystery novel or a "Law and Order" episode on television.
Williams is one of more than 14,000 felons who, under California's three-strikes law, face a possible life sentence if they commit another felony. But few, if any, grasp the reality of that threat better than Williams.
The world is not as it should be: Punitiveness as a response to societal change
....As a policy, three strikes does a lot more than provide harsher punishment. It also takes discretionary authority away from the judiciary, who traditionally have had the flexibility to vary sentences in response to judgements about the nature of crime, the victim and the offender. In the United States, studies showed a long-term trend toward increasing skepticism and lack of confidence in the legal authorities. This in turn had led to:
- A tendency to ignore judicial orders and the law;
- Greater tolerance of vigilantism or extralegal behaviour of citizens;
- Jury behaviour which nullifies the law.
Fania Davis on differences between traditional and modernist constructions of justice
Traditional and modernist constructions of justice differ in a number of ways. First, a communal and participatory ethos pervades indigenous justice approaches. Indigenous justice proceedings tend to involve an expansive range of participants. All affected persons are actively engaged—each of the parties in conflict, their extended families, traditional elders, and community members at large. The process tends to be consensus-based and more egalitarian than hierarchical.
On the other hand, in modern justice proceedings, the range of participants is quite restricted, typically limited to the two sides in conflict, along with a group of justice professionals who dominate the proceedings. Crime is impersonally viewed as an offense against the state rather than as an injury to a person or to relationships. The victim is usually excluded, except as a witness to support the “state’s” case. Offender-focused, modern justice asks: What law was broken, who broke it, and what punishment is deserved?