No script for the journey
The Virginia Center for Restorative Justice
How does a community establish a restorative justice program? It happens at the local level when committed individuals decide to make it happen. Take the Virginia Center for Restorative Justice (VCRJ), for example, a nonprofit established late last year in Richmond, Virginia.
VCRJ was founded by its Executive Director, Judy Clarke, a woman whose commitment to restorative justice is grounded in her abiding faith in God and in the fundamental goodness of humanity. But this journey began for Judy many years ago when she visited the Richmond City Jail for a day with a group of business leaders who were charged with finding a solution to the jail’s problems.
[More sensible ideas from the US!] Prison reform: A smart way for states to save money and lives
With nearly all 50 states facing budget deficits, it's time to end business as usual in state capitols and for legislators to think and act with courage and creativity.
We urge conservative legislators to lead the way in addressing an issue often considered off-limits to reform: prisons. Several states have recently shown that they can save on costs without compromising public safety by intelligently reducing their prison populations.
Governor Jerry Brown: Can he support restorative justice?
by Lisa Rea
Jerry Brown has returned to California Governor's office in 2011 having first been elected the youngest governor in the state in 1975. What's changed?
The incarceration rate has skyrocketed. In 1986 the state prison population was at 59,000. Now the state incarcerates 173, 000 inmates in its state prisons (Legislative Analyst Office, 2006). Although editorial writer Dan Morain of the Sacramento BEE speaks of Brown's close ties to the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA, the prison guard union with more members than most unions in the state) I believe Brown will not be tied to the failed policies of the past. I expect something more.
Crossing the divide
It has often been my experience that restorative justice can span the conservative-liberal divide. Concerns for victims and for reducing the costs of imprisonment are often common to both. The concept of offenders facing up to what they have done makes intuitive sense to many. Values such as responsibility, respect and relationship are often shared along the spectrum. What we mean by these values and ideas, however, and what motivates us to embrace them, are crucial issues.
The lessons to be gleaned from the movement against indeterminate sentencing in the U.S. are instructive. Eventually both progressives and conservatives came together to replace indeterminate sentences with determinate sentences motivated by a just deserts philosophy. The resulting lengthened mandatory sentences dramatically increased the prison population. While there was some confluence of policy positions, the underlying values and motivations of the various parties were quite different. The results have been in many ways catastrophic.
Restorative justice blog advice: 6 tips from Kris Miner
I have been blogging for just over 2 years. I started in September of 2008. Right now the blog views are just over 81,000.
....However, this project to be the first and most frequent Restorative Justice blogger, is working out really well. My goal is to help others, and celebrate the rewards of being a blogger. The post today offers some thoughts and advice on for those new to blogging.
Jan 03, 2011 Support
Who takes ownership of a restorative justice programme?
....At the European Forum for Restorative Justice’s 10th Anniversary conference in Bilbao,Spain in June 2010, retired Concord,Massachusetts Police Chief LenWetherbee and I presented a session with the above title. I spoke about the issues that set a community/statutory agencies partnership approach to restorative practices apart from those that are managed and delivered solely by the statutory agencies. Len gave an example of such an approach, speaking about the community/statutory agencies partnership Communities for Restorative Justice (www.C4RJ.com) project in Concord and how effective a non-profit partnership of community members and police departments can be.
US national conservatives unveil Right On Crime initiative
One of the most interesting, albeit quiet, developments in the Texas policy world has been the bipartisan consensus that has developed on criminal justice since about 2005. Basically, the idea is that putting non-violent offenders in prison for technical violations wastes public funds and that rehabilitation and restitution should play larger roles in the criminal justice system. This approach places more emphasis on controlling costs in criminal justice by focusing incarceration for the most dangerous and violent offenders.
....A group of national conservatives led by Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Russell Keene of the American Conservative Union, and former Attorney General Ed Meese unveiled the “Right On Crime” initiative and website. The group held a conference call this morning to unveil the website.
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.
Genesee Justice gets a five-day reprieve
From the article by Howard Owens on the Batavian:
Genesee County's world renowned restorative justice agency is spared the budget ax for at least five more days.
A proposal by Genesee Justice Director Ed Minardo to cut staff hours and eliminate his own job deserves further study all nine legislators agreed during a budget discussion meeting at the Old Courthouse this evening.
While the proposal comes close to eliminating all of the expense necessary to keep the county budget balanced, more savings must be found.