Could Oakland become a restorative justice city?
Jul 29, 2010
Is it possible for one city to become a model for restorative justice? Can you imagine a ten year plan to make it happen? I don’t know what that might look like but I really want to hear from people who have ideas about it. Here’s an article Edwin Rutsch sent me describing the work of a number of people in Santa Cruz, California, who have that dream for their city. They say that the cities of Hull, England and Rochester, New York have already become “Restorative Cities.”
....A good number of the pieces are there already, in programs like RJOY (Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth). The Santa Cruz article describes excellent programs for teenagers who have committed crimes: like the kid who broke into a math tutor’s car and after restorative justice circles the car owner ended up tutoring the teen to help him through school. But is there a vision for how an entire city can gradually extricate itself from the prison-industrial complex in favor of a different model of justice? It takes time to learn the skills required to make restorative justice work.