African women mobilize to build peace
….Women from Mozambique described ways they are working to create a culture of peace in their country after years of war.
“Since the signing of the peace agreement in 1992, we can live in peace,” Rute Uthui of United Methodist Women of Mozambique said through an interpreter. “In the church since last year we always talk about peace and the maintaining of peace on the radio and in the news. Our women’s group meets every Thursday, and we never walk out without talking about peace and what we can do to maintain it.
"We are facing now criminality. When those people are caught, some want to beat them, but we say, talk to them—punish them according to what they’ve done—but not the violence, talk to them about peace.”
Community court set to go on trial
A project where ‘community courts’ decide how to punish criminals is to be trialled in Stockport.
….Low-level criminals and their victims will be brought together in front of a special panel, which will decide what community punishment to dish out.
….Rebecca Green, from ROC, said: “We looked at Brinnington as we are already established in the community with the cafe and there needs to be trust there. “The area can be highlighted as having problems so this scheme will have a good impact there.
Restorative justice essential for First Nations
from the article on CBC News:
Nishnawbe Aski Legal Services in Thunder Bay hopes the Honourable Frank Iacobucci's report will lead to more community-based justice programs within First Nations.
The former Supreme Court justice said this week that the mainstream legal system is failing Aboriginal people.
A Thunder Bay lawyer who works with Nishnawbe Aski Legal Services said a big part of the solution is to help First Nations deal with criminal behaviour in a way that works for them — something called restorative justice.
"First Nations people approach conflict and conflict resolution very differently,” said Mary Jean Robinson.
Three tales of forgiveness
Forgiveness is a hard road to travel for the victim of a crime, but coming face to face with the offender in a restorative justice process can be beneficial for both, according to Kim Workman, director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment.
''The court process often passes victims by because they are still so traumatised by the offence. They don't understand what has gone on and they feel blocked by anger and fear, often for years. At some point, a victim may feel they want to tell the offender what they think of them, how much damage they have done. They may also want to try to understand what motivated the offender. They may want to try to make sense of it all.''
As leaders, how do we forgive?
….Forgiveness at its deepest level is from God and it is a gift. As I understand forgiveness, it is, in part, a process or journey by which we open ourselves to the reality of another, thus, undergo a profound change toward them and ourselves. Forgiveness is a movement on the journey toward reconciliation.
In some instances, forgiveness simply happens by the grace of God through our encounter with another’s vulnerability and humanity. Sometimes, forgiveness simply breaks in on us apart from our choosing.
Heart of Forgiveness
from the entry by Ron Nikkel on pfi.org:
….The fact remains that for many people forgiveness is as controversial a concept as it is an illogical one.
Yet for most of us, even while forgiveness is personally desirable when we desire mercy for our own misdeeds, it is totally abhorrent to us when we are faced with a remorseless person who has deliberately aggrieved or injured us. We even wonder if there is any justification in forgiving someone who doesn’t deserve to be forgiven, let alone when that person persists in an attitude of indifference and impenitence. Somewhat unconsciously we draw a dividing line between ourselves as being among the good and the deserving, and others who are less good and less deserving, not to mention those who are evil and completely reprehensible. And as a result most of us don’t even entertain the possibility that criminal offenders should be forgiven until they have fully paid their “debt to society.”
N.T. Wright on judgment
Whether we are Christians or not, whenever we think of judgment, especially with regards to Christianity, we have this idea of judgment as being that of a wrathful, vengeful God (and as a friend of mine pointed out to me this week, this is where the idea of penal substitution fits in to much evangelical thinking as well). But to people who are suffering and consistently persecuted, the idea of God coming back to bring judgment and justice is good news indeed. They see it as what it is – the setting right of all things.
Could restorative justice bring education antagonists together?
It’s a painful irony for Ananda Mirilli that the School Board run she tried to use to call the community to come together to do better for Madison kids ended up embroiled in such controversy.
….Mirilli, a Latina who lost her bid for Seat 5 on the Madison School Board in the Feb. 18 primary, decided against a write-in campaign when primary winner Sarah Manski dropped out of the race just two days later. But Mirilli hasn’t given up hope that the election — despite Manski’s surprise withdrawal and the allegations of dirty politics and hypocrisy it incited — can yet be made an occasion to bring together people now sometimes working at odds to improve education in Madison schools.
And as the Restorative Justice Program manager at YWCA Madison, Mirilli is wondering if restorative justice principles might be the way to do it.
Corktown restorative justice: Community wholeness
The Corktown restorative justice group was initiated following the October 2010 beating of one homeless member of the Corktown community by a resident member. Charges were brought in that case and a trial in that case is anticipated by year’s end. But in the wake of the incident, concerned that this represented a pattern of violence and harassment against street folks, some 40 people gathered to explore alternative forms of community justice.
Since that time a number of things have been accomplished:
….9) Guests at Manna Meal developed a Kitchen and Street Code for posting and circulation among themselves.
Restorative justice and transformative justice: Definitions and debates
When it comes to defining RJ, it seems as if the only consensus is that there is no consistent definition. In an attempt to broadly define the concept, Braithwaite writes that “restorative justice is a process where all the stakeholders affected by an injustice have an opportunity to discuss how they have been affected by the injustice and to decide what should be done to repair the harm.” That is, since crime hurts, it should also have a chance to heal.