Enhancing communication, collaboration and the sharing of knowledge between volunteer restorative practitioners in the UK: An array of possibilities
My recent article outlined some of the reasons why it might be beneficial to establish a UK-wide organisation to represent volunteer restorative practitioners (hereinafter ‘volunteers’). I wrote this article following a number of conversations with volunteers in different parts of the UK over a period of several months. These revealed that their enthusiasm for their work was often coupled with feelings of isolation. Even in areas where groups of volunteers had created thriving micro-communities, many expressed the feeling of being separated from people involved in similar activities in other parts of the country.
Julie and Anthony’s story
After Anthony, 15, lost his temper during a game of football and assaulted another boy, he was offered the chance to take part in a restorative justice conference. Here, Anthony and his mum Julie explain how it helped them to move on from the incident and deal with his behaviour.
Anthony: I was playing football and there was a lad there called Ben*. He had come out with me and my friends a few times before but I didn't really know him well. During the game I thought that Ben had kicked me but he hadn't really done anything. I got really angry. I just lost it for no reason whatsoever. After the game as he was walking off I chased after him and as he turned around I hit him in the face and cut his eye open. After that I just ran home....
Restorative justice has unanticipated results
Imagine this scenario: the sound of shattering glass echoes through your condo building as you watch two boisterous teenagers bolt down your street. Much later, after you've helped to clean up the mess and cut your hand on the shard-crusted baseball launched through a lobby window, you're asked to participate in a Restorative Justice Victim-Offender Family Conferencing Program. Your local police department wants you to face the troublemakers and help create a plan to address their behavior. Would you do it?
I'd like you to consider why you should....
World needs to find alternatives to putting children in jail
An estimated one million children are in jail around the world, a violation of child rights principles that say detention should only be a measure of last resort, a leading campaigner said on Monday....
The effects can be devastating. Children are likely to be exposed to abuse and violence, including from the police, security forces, their peers or adult detainees, said Vito Angelillo, chief executive of aid agency Terre des Hommes....
‘Peace hubs’ aim to save kids from crime stigma
VOICE-Buffalo’s effort to create “peace hubs” in churches, mosques, synagogues and other neighborhood anchors could resolve low-level conflicts before they ever reach police. It’s part of a “restorative justice” effort to turn around wayward youth before they get ensnared in a criminal-justice system staffed by many who don’t understand the neighborhoods they patrol or the young people they prosecute.
It’s not an effort to coddle criminals; it’s an effort to save kids.
An alternative to suspension and expulsion: 'Circle up!'
from the story by Eric Westervelt on NPR:
Oakland Unified, one of California's largest districts, has been a national leader in expanding restorative justice. The district is one-third African-American and more than 70 percent low-income. The program was expanded after a federal civil rights agreement in 2012 to reduce school discipline inequity for African-American students.
At Edna Brewer Middle School, the fact that students are taking the lead — that so many want to be part of this effort — shows that it's starting to take root.
"Instead of throwing a punch, they're asking for a circle, they're backing off and asking to mediate it peacefully with words," says Ta-Biti Gibson, the school's restorative justice co-director. "And that's a great thing."
Cherokee Talking Circle
from Crime Solutions:
The Cherokee Talking Circle (CTC) is a culturally based intervention targeting substance abuse among Native American adolescents. The program was designed for students who were part of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, the eighth largest tribe in Oklahoma. The goal of the CTC is to reduce substance abuse, with abstinence as the ideal outcome for students....
The intervention is aimed at Keetoowah–Cherokee students ages 13 to 18 who are in the early stages of substance misuse and who are also experiencing negative consequences as a result of their substance use....
‘One Year On’ progress report against the 2013 Restorative Justice Action Plan
from the report by the Ministry of Justice:
2. Raising Awareness
The Government is committed to increasing the use of RJ across the CJS. However, there is currently low awareness of RJ with both the public and criminal justice professionals. We need to have consistent messages related to the purpose and value of RJ, presented in a way that captures the victim’s attention and builds confidence. Information and guidance needs to be shared between the local CJS, community services and networks, including local authorities. These aims are consistent with the Government’s 2012 responses to the Getting it right for victims and witnesses and Effective community sentences consultations....
Progress is as follows:
Dad hurt in east Hull water pistol attack: 'Restorative justice is no deterrent'
Humberside Police is extending its restorative justice programme and claims it is an effective way of dealing with some offences. But a father who was burnt in the face with a chemical while crossing the road in Southcoates Lane, east Hull, says the approach provides little deterrent.
Giving victims more of a say in how criminals are dealt with sounds like a good idea, but for Richard Scerrie it has been a frustrating experience.
The disabled father-of-two was burnt in the face when he was hit by a chemical fired from a water pistol by a gang of youths in east Hull.
But Mr Scerrie remains frustrated by his experience....
Even practice doesn’t make perfect — and that’s OK
“If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” G.K. Chesterton
I've used that quote as a guide for some time now, and nowhere more frequently than in my work promoting and practicing restorative and transformational approaches to conflict and harm. This was especially apparent to me this week, a week that both began and ended with me accompanying others along a restorative path with few markers other than my own experiences in the work and their desire to do things differently....