- Showing 10 posts published between Nov 01, 2009 and Nov 30, 2009 [Show all]
Law school student asks: would victims really want restorative justice?
by Lisa Rea
I recently gave a speech at UC Davis Law School. Before the class the professor shared a comment made to him by one of the students in his class. A number of students had already explored restorative justice, perhaps having heard of it previously since the law school had hosted a number of events on the subject including bringing in guest speakers like me to speak in a classroom setting.
The student said this: "Restorative justice might be a good concept for the person who committed the crime since they may be able to understand the pain they caused that they might not otherwise be unaware of. However, for victims I think this is a waste of time. It probably just stirs up emotions unnecessarily and the session may turn into a shouting and crying match. But it still doesn’t change the victims’ pain or the harm that was caused."
Right and left join forces on criminal justice
In the next several months, the Supreme Court will decide at least a half-dozen cases about the rights of people accused of crimes involving drugs, sex and corruption. Civil liberties groups and associations of defense lawyers have lined up on the side of the accused.
But so have conservative, libertarian and business groups. Their briefs and public statements are signs of an emerging consensus on the right that the criminal justice system is an aspect of big government that must be contained.
Nov 30, 2009 Politics
Fort project helps build bridges
Offenders on community service orders in North Lanarkshire have been helping build a replica medieval village in a forest in the Carron Valley.
The council's restorative justice team has been working with heritage organisation the Clanranald Trust at Duncarron Fort.
The site is being turned into a tourist and educational attraction.
Offenders have been learning old-fashioned building methods and helping the project take shape.
Nov 27, 2009 Community Service
An independent study published on Thursday by Victims’ Champion Sara Payne calls on the government to "redefine" justice to give greater priority to victims of crime.
The mother of Sarah Payne, who was murdered by a paedophile in 2000, writes, "The most compelling theme throughout my time as Victims' Champion has been the need to treat victims and witnesses as individuals, with individual needs."
Most people think of criminal justice in terms of offenders being apprehended by the police, convicted by the courts, and sentenced to prison. At a time when the prison population is greater than ever (it presently stands at 84,622), perhaps that is unsurprising. The truth, however, is just three per cent of people who report a crime ever see a courtroom. What does justice mean for these people?
One-third of police chiefs 'oppose restorative justice'
One-third of chief constables in England and Wales are opposed to the use of restorative justice, it has been claimed.
Supporters of the initiative, which can see young people meet victims of their crime and make amends, argue it can drastically reduce re-offending rates through making offenders come to terms with the consequences of their actions.
Putting victims at the heart of justice
Promises to put victims at the heart of the justice system sound good but can have a hollow ring. Too often people find themselves lost in a maze of unfamiliar, complex and bureaucratic criminal justice process and procedures. Only to emerge feeling that their account of being harmed has not really been heard or, at least, not properly understood. So a youth justice system which satisfies 90% of crime victims and substantially reduces reoffending rates is well worth looking into.
Apology lite: Truths, doubts, and reconciliations in the Senate’s guarded apology for slavery
The United States Senate formally apologized for slavery on June 18, 2009. This followed an apology made nearly a year earlier, on July 29, 2008, by the House of Representatives. Unlike the House apology, the Senate apology contains additional limiting language, specifically stating that it cannot be used as a ground for monetary compensation. The apology is nearly nine hundred words, with a preamble which goes into some detail about the wrongness of slavery, admitting that slaves were “brutalized, humiliated, [and] dehumanized.” It then states:
(1) APOLOGY FOR THE ENSLAVEMENT AND SEGREGATION OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS.—The Congress . . . apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws . . . .
(2) DISCLAIMER.—Nothing in this resolution—
(A) authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or
(B) serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.
Let mana grow
New Zealand and the US bear some resemblance as big-time human lock-ups. The US is world leader in incarceration and New Zealand is in the top quartile. New Zealand is the 125th most populated country in the world out of 258, yet the 57th most incarcerated. This gives new meaning to the cliché “punching above our weight.” I outlined three things New Zealand could offer to the US in this area: learnings about our system of restorative justice (with its emphasis on “repairing the harm”), our Maori-Pakeha experience of biculturalism, and an appreciation of the development of mana, that special Maori concept denoting personal bearing, presence, and character.
Chief Judge Evans to receive prestigious award
When Cook County's Chief Judge Timothy Evans is honored at the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday, it will be a landmark moment for the once-disgraced local Circuit Court.
....U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will present Judge Evans
with the prestigious William Rehnquist Award. Evans, first elected to
the court in 1992 and chief judge for the past eight years, is being
honored for integrity and judicial innovation.
Vicar forgives daughter's killers
Miss Boxall's father Simon, a vicar, said of her killers: "We want them to know that we forgive them.
He said he hoped "forgiveness will allow the girls to be released from the burden of what they have done"....
"That does not mean that what they did 'doesn't matter'. Of course it does.
"Nor does it mean that we think this trial need not have taken place."
He added: "For justice to be seen to be done those responsible have to face up to the consequences of their choices."