'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.
Bullying: School, texting & cyber harassment is emotional assault
Bullying has become increasingly common in schools throughout the United States and studies have found signs of an apparent connection between bullying, being bullied and suicide. When the bullying moves to the Internet, the trauma to the victim is astronomically escalated. It is full-blown emotional assault.
This issue hit home when my daughter was in 7th grade. Although she survived the intense school and cyber bullying she endured for several weeks at the hands of those that used to be her "friends", the wounds were deep and the signs were there. When she began wearing dark clothes all the time and her grades started slipping, her mood becoming dark and sad without any apparent reason - at least not due to anything at home - I knew something was up.
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.
Conservative criminal justice policy and restorative justice
....[I]f we win the election, we will be missing a great opportunity if we do not seize the moment to move Restorative Justice to a much higher place on the agenda of criminal justice reform.
It‟s very simple: if I become the Prisons Minister, I will be a strong advocate and supporter of RJ.
Another warning about US prison policy: Justice Kennedy laments the state of prisons in California, U.S.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy criticized California sentencing policies and crowded prisons Wednesday night, calling the influence that unionized prison guards had in passing the three-strikes law "sick."
In an otherwise courtly and humorous address to the Los Angeles legal community, Kennedy expressed obvious dismay over the state of corrections and rehabilitation in the country. He said U.S. sentences are eight times longer than those issued by European courts.
Public speaking tips: Reaching everyone in your audience when speaking about restorative justice
from Kris Miner's blog:
From Seth Godin's blog:
The work you do when you spread the word or run an ad or invent a policy is likely aimed at one of these four groups.
- Strangers are customers to be, but not yet
- Critics are those that would speak ill of you, or need to be converted
- Friends are those that might have given permission, or even buy now and then
- Fans are members of your tribe, supporters and insiders
You already know the truth: can’t please all these groups at once.
As a restorative justice practitioner or advocate, you maybe asked to speak to a group, that includes all the groups mentioned above. Godin’s categories, reminded me of a recent post, not everyone views restorative justice equally.
As restorative justice practitioners, hard work needed regarding victims: Five things to do
I want to offer some lessons for people who do restorative justice. These lessons are for working with victims in either a victim-offender dialogue or a talking circle. I think its important to keep up our compassion towards victims skills. To really do our best, I have 5 things to work really hard at:
Cutting crime: The case for justice reinvestment
The British House of Common Justice Committee has recently released a report on the reinvestment of justice resources aimed at reducing crime. The following is excerpted from the Executive Summary:
We decided to undertake an inquiry into “justice reinvestment”, because of three linked issues.
First, the criminal justice system is a complex network of agencies with substantial public funding operating under increasing pressure but the different parts of the system do not seem to be pursuing the same goals or making cogent contributions to an agreed overarching purpose.
Secondly, the Government’s main answer to the current overcrowding of prisons and the predicted rise in the prison population—already at a record high—is to provide more prison places rather than to seek to address the root causes of this seemingly incessant growth. These causes include: a toxic cocktail of sensationalised or inaccurate reporting of difficult cases by the media; relatively punitive overall public opinion (compared to much of the EU); a self-defeating over-politicisation of criminal justice policy since the late 1980s and the responsiveness to all these factors of the sentencing framework and sentencers.
Thirdly, it is clear that authorities and agencies outside the criminal justice system—with relevant objectives, remits and funding—could take more effective action to reduce both the number of people entering the criminal justice system in the first place and the likelihood of re-entry after serving a sentence.
So questions arise as to whether the existing allocation of attention, energy and funding is the right one. “Justice reinvestment” approaches—which channel resources on a geographically-targeted basis to reduce the crimes which bring people into the criminal justice system and into prison in particular—offer potential solutions to these challenges.
How to run a meeting like a restorative justice talking circle
from Kris Miner's blog:
Not everyone is comfortable with Circle, so over time, I have found ways to engage bits without making people freak-out and shut down. On the same hand, I’ve gotten quite confident at running a Circle, with skeptical people. (imagine a circle of attorney’s!)
Running a meeting like a Circle, I’ve promoted the interactive meeting format to include:
Launch of Wentworth Restorative Justice Project in Durban
from the announcement on Imagine Durban:
Khulisa is an award-winning NGO dedicated to preventing crime through promoting rehabilitation, education and reconciliation.
In partnership with the South Durban Basin Area Based Management Programme of Ethekwini Municipality, Khulisa has launched an integrated pilot project aimed at bringing the concepts of restorative justice (RJ) into the Merewent community.
Khulisa helps families and communities support victims who need healing and offenders who want to make amends in order to provide support to the justice system by maximising community participation.