People are not programs
from the blog article by Hal Pepinsky:
...From victim-offender mediation trainings and practice, I learned that regardless of formal structure and training, people will apply their underlying habits and perspective as mediators to doing “restorative justice.” Many advocates and practitioners of this model of responding to conflict in practice share my observation that in practice, many mediators concentrate on following the detailed letter of what to say and do, as they have been instructed to do, and in so doing, acts more like judges or arbitrators who interpret and implicitly tell parties what is what, what they need to do, and have a fixed notion going into mediation as to terms of an appropriate agreement. One prime example is requiring “offenders” explicitly to apologize to “victims.” Another example, one that has even formally been introduced into some theories and practices of “restoration,” is the belief that “offenders” must be “shamed” into overt remorse for their actions, and that a good agreement requires that “offenders” somehow “right the wrongs” they have done, both for their sakes, and for the sake of “repairing the harm” to meet “victims’” needs.
What I’ve learned as a Neighborhood Court facilitator
From the article by Judith MacBrine on The Davis Enterprise:
On June 6, I facilitated my first Neighborhood Court session. I am one of seven trained facilitators. I was drawn to Neighborhood Court because it uses restorative justice principles to resolve crimes — i.e., identify and repair the harms — as compared to our current punitive justice — i.e., identify the broken law and punish the offender.
With all of the problems associated with the criminal justice system — cost, overcrowding, lag time, recidivism, discrimination — I am thrilled to help find another way to justice. I didn’t expect, however, to be personally impacted by the process.
Oakland activist helps troubled young men heal from trauma
From the article by Matt O'Brien on Contra Costa Times:
It might seem strange, to those with a dim view of them, to witness young men with gang affiliations and juvenile records gathered in a ceremonial circle and disclosing their deepest regrets. But for George Galvis, this is the way people are supposed to resolve their problems. Everyone, he said, wants their voices heard.
The other F word
from the article by Leslie Neale on Huff Post Crime:
No, not that F word! I'm talking about forgiveness -- letting go, turning the other cheek. That thing our predominantly Judeo/Christian society teaches us to do but rarely means for us to practice, especially when we or our loved ones have been wrongfully and violently harmed or even worse.
When someone is gravely hurt, we cheer revenge not redemption. We don't understand if someone chooses to forgive the unforgiveable and often judge them as sick or insane. We believe punishment is the only answer for those who commit such horrific acts. Good riddance if they are locked away forever or even put to death.
Childs Hill School in Cricklewood handed restorative justice award
from the by Anna Slater:
A school has won an award for the unique way it deals with conflicts between children.
Childs Hill, in Dersingham Road, Cricklewood, is one of the first organisations in the country to be handed the Restorative Justice Council’s restorative quality service mark.
What happens at a restorative justice conference?
From the Why me? website:
When victims and offenders sit down and meet at a Restorative Justice Conference,what is said remains confidential. When people talk about their experience of restorative justice (such as on this website), it’s because everyone involved in the meeting has agreed to going public.
Circle with diverse members, harmed, harmer and community role models.
from the blog article by Kris Miner:
What a fortunate place I have, having kept 1,000′s of Circles in a range of contexts. I’ve also been fortunate to train a few hundred in the process, allowing me to hear stories back on what worked well, and what was a lesson.
It is soo important that Circles have a diverse mix of perspectives. This takes time, in training youth or community volunteers about the dynamics of participating in Circle. However, by training others, you yourself will be learning more about the fundamental belief systems that make Circles work.
Crime victims find healing through restorative justice
From the article by Jasmin Lopez on KALW :
Dionne Wilson's husband, a San Leandro police officer, was killed in the line of duty seven years ago, but she says it took her a long time to find a way to really heal.
“For many years, I carried around so much vengeance and hate. I realized at a certain point I had nothing left. I had no more tools. I engaged in a lot of self-destructive behavior. I tried to buy my way out of my grief; I tried to drink my way out for a short period. Thankfully, I didn’t take that too far. And I just didn’t have a way to move past being embroiled in the moment,” says Wilson.
Transforming campus culture to prevent rape: The possibility and promise of restorative justice as a response to campus sexual violence
From the article by Alletta Brenner on The Harvard Journal of Law & Gender Blog:
Though feminists have long argued that rape is linked to sex discrimination, legal responses to rape tend to ignore the ways that social and cultural norms contribute to sexual violence. One exception, however, exists in the context of federal anti-discrimination law under Title IX, which applies to colleges and universities that receive federal funds. Under the legal framework established by Title IX, rape constitutes a form of severe sexual harassment, to which educational institutions are legally obligated to respond.An institution’s failure to do so is considered evidence of sex discrimination and may subject it to both federal penalties and civil liability. Recently, this obligation was further strengthened by the passage of legislation that codifies particular aspects of what campus grievance processes for rape survivors must include and requires schools to take affirmative steps to transform campus culture to prevent rape.
How Scandinavian prisons model a redemptive sense of punishment
from the article by Jonathan Kana on Think Christian:
Imagine a prison where housing facilities resemble weather-worn college dorms instead of cell blocks and where inmates are permitted to come and go for civilian work assignments or family visits under a strict curfew policy. Imagine a corrections model that prohibits officers from carrying weapons, but instead assigns them a central role in offender rehabilitation. Imagine a justice system whose policies are rarely subject to political whims, leaving expert criminologists to make decisions instead.