The criminalization of black youth and the rise of restorative justice
from the article by Max Eternity in Truthout:
Among extrajudicial deaths at the hands of police and white vigilantes, the tragic stories of Travon Martin and Oscar Grant have garnered media attention, but are also highly contested narratives. Less talked about is the institutionalized climate of fear that has been normalized for brown-skinned youth - the daily domestic terror by police.
....[This] insidious institutional problem continues to unfold. We examine it in... an on-site interview with Chief Allen Nance - the chief probation officer of San Francisco's Juvenile Hall - on June 13, 2014.
Face to face with victims: Boulder County to expand restorative justice
from the article on Daily Camera Boulder County News:
As a prosecutor, Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett is a big believer in the American court system. But even Garnett admits there are times when months of hearings and drawn-out jury trials aren't the answer — especially in the case of adolescents.
"That may make sense for a murder case, but it doesn't make sense for a kid knocking a mailbox off its post," Garnett said.
His office will be one of four in Colorado participating in a state pilot program to help youths stay out of the court system — even the juvenile court system — and resolve their cases through restorative justice. Over the next few months, Garnett and his staff will be working on opening the 20th Judicial District Attorney's Center of Prevention and Restorative Justice.
Another road to justice
from the article in Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:
The group of men listens, mesmerized, as Lynn BeBeau talks about the last time she saw her husband alive.
"I told him the same thing I always did: `I love you. Be careful.' "
Her husband grinned back.
"Honey, don't worry about me. Me and God are like this." He held up two crossed fingers and smiled.
Hours later, the Eau Claire police officer was shot to death in the line of duty.
The hulking men in prison greens sit perfectly still as BeBeau fights back tears. They are murderers, armed robbers, drug dealers, child molesters.
Breaking a vicious cycle [Editorial]
from the article in the Baltimore Sun:
For far too many young people who get caught up in the criminal justice system, an arrest or conviction for even a minor, non-violent offense can become a one-way ticket to a shrunken future that slams the door on opportunities for the rest of their lives. Being arrested as a teen increases a person's chances of being arrested again as an adult, and teenagers sentenced to jail are more likely to be incarcerated later in life as well. Add to that the nation's harsh drug laws and stiff mandatory minimum sentencing policies and it's no wonder America locks up more of its citizens than any other country in the world.
Restorative Conferencing Changes Rotten Behavior
from the article on Spacewhat:
The mom and her 15-year-old son are so palpably nervous you can almost see anxiety ions in the air. He’s committed a seriously foolish act. He and Mom want to cooperate with a restorative conference as an alternative to his getting arrested.
He’s not a bad kid, but like so many kids these days — and so many adults as well — the rules don’t really apply to him. While immature and a goofball, his antics can be funny, some of the time. But the joking can also be irritating, disruptive and obnoxious. This time Goofball crossed a line, a personal violation, that freaked a teacher out to the point where she considered pressing charges — and had every right to do so. But his behavior was not malicious.
Restorative justice in education – possibilities, but also concerns
from the blog article by Kathy Evans:
There is a great deal of momentum right now for implementing restorative justice in education. This makes me incredibly excited – and a bit nervous.
Let’s start with the good news! RJ is gaining lots of attention in education. Recently, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education came together to issue a colleague letter alerting schools that they can be cited for disproportionately disciplining students in certain categories. These federal agencies then recommended restorative justice as one way to address disproportionate discipline in schools!
Close to Home: Success of restorative program shows in numbers
from the article in the Press Democrat:
Last October, after the Santa Rosa City Council approved funding to introduce restorative practices in schools, The Press Democrat ran an editorial that stated, “Spending $125,000 on a one-year pilot program is a lot to ask — especially for the Santa Rosa City Schools District. But in this case, it's money well spent.”
Practicing restorative justice at Oakland's Skyline High
from the article by Sarah O'Neal:
Sonia Black is walking through the halls of Skyline High School, trying to get the last few kids to class.
Black is in charge of discipline and attendance for ninth and twelfth graders at Skyline. She’s been at the school for two years and this year, they’re trying something new: restorative justice.
“The whole idea of restorative justice is, how can we make this situation right so you don’t have to come up and see me anymore?” says Black. “We want to have a conversation about what’s going on and what we can do to resolve this so that the student is in the classroom learning and the teacher is able to teach.”
Victims of sexual assault deserve more justice options: report
from the article from RMIT University:
An RMIT University report has called for the introduction of restorative justice meetings between victims and offenders as part of a range of measures to support justice for victims of sexual assault.
Restorative justice: A different approach to discipline
from the article on We Are Teachers:
Suspensions at Bunche High School, a continuation school in a high-crime, high-poverty community of Oakland, Calif., dropped by 51% last year. Disrespect for teachers has declined; the school is safer. Students are more focused on their studies and many have stopped cutting class.
Teachers at the school say these positive results are due in large part to a radically different approach to discipline called restorative justice: a bold alternative to the typical zero tolerance policies that lead to mandatory suspensions and expulsions. “Restorative justice is a major cultural shift from a punitive model to a restorative model,” said David Yusem, Program Manager of Restorative Justice for the Oakland Unified School District, one of the first districts in the nation to embrace the practice.