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".
Moving beyond sides: The power and potential of a new public safety policy paradigm
Many factors have shaped state and federal public safety policies in the United States over the past twenty-five years. The most notable influence has been the widespread adoption of a tough on crime philosophy. While there is now a wealth of research that shows that tough on crime policies are not the most effective approach to public safety and actually create a serious opportunity-cost for reducing crime and victimization, the tough on crime philosophy has become part of the political and public consciousness across the United States.
I am meeting with the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights this morning.
This is what I will be saying.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am pleased to have this opportunity to address you and the rest of the committee regarding Bill C-10, The Safe Streets & Community Act.
....My daughter, Candace, was 13 years old when she was abducted and found murdered six weeks later. We lived without knowing the details of what happened for two decades.
The hardest kind of justice
In countries throughout the world prisons are about to reach capacity, or more commonly, are completely overcrowded. Of those that do manage to get out of prison, in the case of the UK and the US for example, the rate of recidivism hovers around 50 and 60% every year since the mid-nineties. Meaning more than half of all former prisoners never get rehabilitated, never deal with issues of responsibility, trauma and emotion.
Furthermore, legal systems are flooded with cases creating a bottleneck that causes even the smallest of cases to last far longer than they should. When you add to this situation the astronomical costs of the average criminal justice system, it is easy to see that increasingly, governments have reached a breaking point. On the other side of the coin are the victims. Between the judges and the lawyers the average victim has a limited role in the very trial that is supposed to provide them with some sense of resolution and justice.The trauma that comes with the pain and suffering can last a lifetime.
Interview with Professor Nicola Lacey
Professor Nicola Lacey is a Senior Research fellow and Professor of criminal theory at All Souls College, University of Oxford. She was in New Zealand recently to give the 2010 Shirley Smith Address on the subject of the Politics of Punishment. We took the opportunity to pick her brain.
....Rethinking: Someone said something to me the other day about how if we are going to put the requirements of victims in this process it should be their needs, rather than their wants.
NL: Exactly. You need to have the debate about which needs can legitimately be met by the criminal justice process.
Redeeming the Wounded: New book features new vision for victims’ justice
from the press release at PRWeb.com:
In 2008 approximately 16,262 people were murdered in the U.S., leaving family and friends to grieve the loss. (Source: NCVRW Resource Guide) Many faith-based organizations want to help but do not know how. Due to budget cuts, funding for rehabilitation and educational, faith-based counseling programs for prisoners and crime victims has suffered in almost every locality. A new way to handle these problems is discussed in Redeeming the Wounded by Rev. Dr. B. Bruce Cook (www.xulonpress.com and www.cvaconline.org under “crime victim resources”). Cook’s new vision of victim justice involves a concept of fair and equal treatment for crime victims and prisoners based on principles of restorative justice and restitution.
....Cook’s call to action includes:
Restorative Justice on Death Row: healing for crime victims?
by Lisa Rea
A death row inmate in Florida recently died in prison before the state could execute him. I became aware of Robert's case because I met his pen pal, Ines, a woman from Switzerland who had be-friended him through a pen pal organization, Lifespark, based in that country. After being interviewed by Ines for her organization's newsletter on the subject of forgiveness and restorative justice I learned more about the man she wrote in a Florida prison who had served some 20 years on death row. The story came to an end on December 3rd, 2010 when Robert unexpectedly died of cancer. But what I learned from my encounter with Ines was the real need to open doors more fully for all victims of violent crime wherever their offenders live and wherever their victims live (if they are still alive). I learned through Ines that her pen pal, once a very violent offender, was ready to attempt to make things right, as much as possible, with the victims or victim's family members that he had injured. The rap sheet on this man was very violent and longer than I'd ever seen.
I often learn things about restorative justice and how to apply it seemingly coincidentally. When cases draw me, or more likely the people behind the cases, I have a hard time saying no.
Parallel Justice for Victims of Crime
by Eric Assur
Not too many years ago Restorative Justice (RJ) was introduced, or artfully expounded on, by Howard Zehr. Now we have what appears to be a similarly unique view of the victim of crime topic through new and different lenses. The author, a seasoned and well credentialed victim advocate, and the National Center for Victims of Crime now offer an enlightening commentary and daunting challenge regarding the state of victim services. The book recommends a new way to do business, a paradigm shift to what is now labeled, Parallel Justice (PJ).
Restorative Justice Centre's submission to Ministry of Justice on victims' rights
The Restorative Justice Centre at AUT University in New Zealand has responded to a discussion draft titled "A Focus on Victims of Crime: A Review of Victims' Rights" on how the government might better address the needs of crime victims. Following are excerpts from RJC's response:
9. The central justice needs of victims are submitted to be accountability, vindication, empowerment, information, truth-telling and future safety. Only the first and last of these are addressed (to some degree) by the current legal process, and then only when the offender is convicted. Thus in crimes that go largely unreported, such as sexual offences, there can be no feeling of accountability in the absence of alternative processes, and victims remain unsafe.
10. The remaining four central justice needs are those which Dr Howard Zehr, known to and used by MoJ as a consultant in restorative justice, has said are “especially neglected”. They are next mentioned separately. However they overlap with needs identified by other writers.