Empowered Victims & Moral Perpetrators: A Needs-Based Model of Reconciliation
At a recent workshop at Leiden University on Obstacles and Catalysts for Peaceful Behavior, Nurit Shnabel presented exciting research distinguishing the needs of victims and perpetrators in interpersonal and intergroup conflicts. According to Shnabel and colleagues’ Needs-Based Model of Reconciliation, victims of conflict experience a psychological loss of status and honor, thus undermining their identities as powerful actors. Perpetrators, on the other hand, experience a psychological loss of social acceptance, thus threatening their identities as moral actors. Accordingly, victims and perpetrators are differentially motivated to restore these respective identities, and interactions that do so will increase their willingness to reconcile....
What if we gave victims of serious crimes the opportunity to face the offenders?
There has been much speculation about the factors that might lead someone to commit the kind of crime that was perpetrated against Mikey Partida. While some of it may be premature it is a normal human response to try to make sense of something that is so senseless.
….Lisa Rea, founder of Restorative Justice International, who has worked in restorative justice since 1992 believes that victims of crime do not want some vague sense of "closure" but rather they want to regain a sense of safety, security and healing. She argues in a 2012 article that for many victims the healing process would be facilitated by an opportunity to face the offender, ask him/her questions, describe the harm that was done, and seek a way for the harms done to them to be made right. She notes: "...(T)hroughout my work the number of victims who are seeking to participate in some kind of restorative justice dialogue is increasing."
Sentencing circles for lawyers
If sentencing circles are fine for the criminal justice system, why shouldn’t they be an option at Law Society of Upper Canada disciplinary hearings?
In a recent case involving lawyer Terence John Robinson, an LSUC hearing panel had the task of deciding whether to allow a sentencing circle for him. Robinson, a member of the Wikwemikong First Nation, has been in hot water in relation to a 2009 conviction for aggravated assault. He subsequently admitted to conduct unbecoming a licensee but wants to return to his criminal law practice representing aboriginal clients. The panel then invited submissions on whether to hold a sentencing circle for him.
Review: Art in Action: Expressive Arts Therapy and Social Change
By Marian Liebmann
It’s refreshing to see a book which contains many surprising and good techniques using our ‘right brains’ and the whole of ourselves. We spend too much time on ‘left-brain’ activities, planning, writing notes and reports, working out logistics, spending hours in front of our computer screens. This book is about another way of experiencing the world, and of helping many others in the process.
This collection of essays seems to be an outcome of collaboration between staff of Lesley University (in Cambridge, USA and Israel) and the European Graduate School in Switzerland, the only master’s degree course in Expressive Arts in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding. In fact many of the authors are involved in both institutions.
Why go there?
That’s the question that arises most often when I mention my visits with inmates in Wisconsin’s prison system. Why go there? Why would I, who lost a beloved family member to violent crime, want to “go there”—emotionally, let alone physically? Why do I spend three consecutive days of my discretionary time locked in intense conversation with convicted felons, many of whom have committed violent crimes? Why would anyone want to do that?
My own journey to prison began over 25 years ago, when my 88-year-old grandmother and her two elderly friends were kidnapped after attending a charity event in my home town. Their kidnapper drove them to an isolated, wooded location and brutally kick-boxed them to death. Within days, he was captured, and within months, he was tried and convicted.
Howard Zehr shifts to leading role in new restorative justice institute
Howard widely known as the “grandfather of restorative justice,” will step aside from his teaching role at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) after the spring 2013 semester and begin co-leading the newly established Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice.
The leaders of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) announced the founding of the Zehr Institute at the end of the fall 2012 semester, after persuading Zehr to let the institute carry his name. They also asked Zehr to remain a faculty member in a non-teaching role with the title Distinguished Professor of Restorative Justice.
Evaluation of The Forgiveness Project within prisons
The Forgiveness Project (TFP) is a UK based charity that uses real stories to explore how ideas around forgiveness, reconciliation and conflict resolution can have a positive impact on people’s lives. One aspect of the charity’s work is a programme run within prisons, targeted at the early stages of a sentence.
Unite offering prisoner mediation service at Kirklevington Grange Prison
....Mr James said the focus was always on the long-term goal of reducing reoffending. “We’re also providing a victim-offender mediation service for those Kirklevington prisoners who agree to talk to their victims and where the victim agrees to meet the perpetrator.
“This is one way a prisoner can show they have taken responsibility for their actions. They may want to offer an explanation to the victim. They may want to say sorry and agree a way to make amends.”
Restorative justice behind bars
This summer, Seattle University's Criminal Justice program took students out of the classroom and into prison cells. SU’s criminal justice chair and a sociology professor teamed up to create a new pilot course that provided a unique learning experience for students.
Restorative justice and overseas adoption
In the 10 years I spent providing interpretation and managerial services for international adoptees on a volunteer basis, I witnessed the pain of many international adoptees. Today, I am still providing consultation to adoptees raised in the U.S., and I served as the manager in some facilities in which adoptees stay in Korea to learn the Korean language and culture.
I listened to many different stories while acting as an interpreter during the reunions of families who previously gave up their children for adoption. Approximately 200,000 international adoptees from Korea are scattered throughout the world, and there are currently close to 300 international adoptees staying in Korea to learn the Korean language and culture in order to discover a sense of identity. I have had a range of experiences while providing this voluntary interpretation service.