- Showing 4 posts filed under: Theory [–] published between Mar 01, 2010 and Mar 31, 2010 [Show all]
Therapeutic jurisprudence, restorative justice and brushfire arson
Last Thursday and Friday at the Monash University Conference Centre in Melbourne I took part in a symposium organised by Monash Sustainability Institute, the Australian Institute of Criminology and others about preventing bush fires....
A key feature of the symposium was its multi-disciplinary approach – professionals from the fire services, police, psychology, corrections, criminology and the law explored the different aspects of the motivations behind, detection and investigations into and prosecution and sentencing in relation to bush fire arson. Identifying potential arsonists and greater community education were other matters considered at the symposium.
Prisons in the sky
by Dan Van Ness
One of the persistent themes in penology has been the idea that architecture can help produce transformation in people. From the monastery-like isolation of prisoners in the Walnut Street Jail and its successor the Eastern State Penitentiary in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries to the Auburn model allowing for aggregate work but individual isolation, to Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon, to today's Supermax prisons, form has indeed followed function.
Now eVolo magazine has awarded first place in its 2010 Skyscraper Competition to Malaysian architectural students for their Vertical Prison, conceived of as somehow floating high above the ground with elevator pods transporting prisoners, staff, food and so forth between the prison and earth.
Prisoners would work in farms to supply earth with organic products. Those who behaved well would be given cells with windows pointed to the earth so they would be motivated to reform themselves.
The naivete of the design (the prison floats without support in the sky) and reform strategy (the architecture students do not appear to have researched the history of prisons) is remarkable, as is that of the judges of the competition.
Restorative justice: Updating Jirga in NWFP Pakistan
I and my partner, Sarah Bird, met Ali Gohar when we travelled to Pakistan to teach Energy Psychology techniques for treating PTSD after the earthquake of October 2005. This article from Peacebuilder magazine tells about the amazing work Ali is doing with the traditional restorative justice circle, called 'jirga'...
Ali Gohar, MA ’02, is working to update the traditional system of jirga in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. He believes passionately in the core function of jirga, whereby certain elders are recognized in their communities for their wisdom and ethics; these elders gather to make community-wide decisions, resolve problems, and dispense justice.
Gohar has been encouraging jirga’s elders to incorporate current principles of human rights, conflict resolution, reconciliation, and restorative justice into their deliberations.
Restorative justice considers the merits of cases not just rules…
The disturbing case of Albert Holland whose lawyer failed to adequately represent him points out a growing problem with our traditional courts: the focus on the law and rules vs. the facts and merits of particular cases in making rulings.
Most American legal cases are being decided on procedure and law, “the rules,” and not on equity or the merits of cases. See Michael J. Sandel’s Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy.
The merits are about people and the particular facts about their unique experience in every conflict. Our courts should be places where people can go to find fairness and justice. Court should be a place where people know they can go to have the facts of their cases heard and considered by other people, judges, who care.