Fairness, justice and restoring lives
During a hot summer day, daycare workers removed children from a van, except one — Jazzmin Green. She was two years old. Sixteen-year-old Miesha Ridley was responsible for checking off the names of the children as they were removed. There was a mark next to Jazzmin’s name. An hour passed before anyone noticed she was missing. They found her in the van unconscious — still strapped to her car seat. She died from the heat. Miesha and two adult workers were arrested.
Miesha admitted to voluntary manslaughter — it was time for disposition. Jazzmin’s parents made it clear that anything other than prison for Miesha would be “unfair.” They just buried their child and the pain was eating at them. During the hearing, Mr. Green shared these feelings of unfairness and asked that “justice” be done.
School's disciplinary message: We want you here
The head of security at Richmond High School is Darryl Robinson. But everyone there knows him as "Coach D." When he started 15 years ago, fights broke out nonstop. Students roamed the halls. And things didn't improve much over the years.
Robinson remembers standing in front of a classroom and asking how many students had ever seen someone get killed.
"Every hand in the room shot up," he said.
Crime and entertainment at Franklin High
When outrage-inducing incidents become media sensations, the authorities respond with the tools they have available. Educators point to politically popular “zero tolerance” policies.
....Police charge the thugs with whatever laws they can find — even unlawful wire tapping — and set the wheels of justice turning. There will be lawyers and hearings and plea bargains, fines and probably time behind bars.
Restorative justice in higher education: A compilation of formats and best practices
from the guide by Justine Darling:
....There are many restorative tools and processes that can be used in the university setting. This guide is specific to Judicial and Residential Life processes within Institutions of Higher Education. Addressed below are the five most common methods of implementation that are used at the 9 colleges and universities in this study. The goal of all 5 Restorative Processes is for the respondent to acknowledge responsibility, identify harm and obligations, and develop a restorative plan agreed upon by the person responsible and impacted parties. Language used in Restorative Judicial Processes is different than the language used in Traditional Judicial Processes so that stigmatization is less likely to occur.
Restorative justice focuses on the victim
....There is a growing number of restorative justice programs in Montana for adults and juveniles across reservations and other jurisdictions in Montana, including community youth justice, victim-offender dialogue and victim impact panels.
In Lewis and Clark and Broadwater counties, certain first time offenders up to age 17, are offered an opportunity to instead of going before a judge, meet with the victim of their crime, his or her parents, community members and a trained facilitator. Victims are encouraged to describe the impact of the crime, offenders are held accountable, and the group decides how the offender will make amends.
In Dharun Ravi trial, criminal retribution will not serve justice
I watch with increasing discomfort as the arch of justice sways with uncertainty in that New Brunswick courtroom where the fate of former Rutgers University freshman Dharun Ravi is being considered.
from the transcript on Religion & Ethics:
POTTER: More than two million Americans are now imprisoned, four times as many as 30 years ago. The major reason: mandatory sentencing for non-violent crimes and drug charges. But the war on drugs, declared in the 1980s, has not had the effect its backers predicted. Arkansas Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen has seen the results.
JUDGE WENDELL GRIFFEN (Arkansas Circuit Court): Drug use has not declined. All it has done has produced an explosion on our prison population. The whole mandatory sentencing guideline mantra was sort of like the Kool-Aid that we should never have drunk.
Givin' them kids all the power. What's next? No discipline, no obedience, no...fist fights.
What you're about to read in this blog article, is a little about how I have changed over the past year, after joining the Restorative Justice (RJ) student team. I joined the team the summer before freshman year. First though, let me give a brief description of the Longmont High School RJ Team. We are a team of roughly 20 student facilitators that practice Restorative Justice in 3 schools in the SVVSD. It’s a program run by student facilitators for students in conflict.
Mother cares for her son’s Amish victims
....Three months after the shooting, Chuck and Terri Roberts began visiting the victims and their families.
Terri invited the surviving girls and their mothers to picnics and tea parties at her home.
At one tea, Terri asked the mothers to sit in a circle and share the highest and lowest points of their lives. She yearned to connect with Mary Liz King, the mother of a paralyzed girl named Rosanna.
King explained how her trials were different than the rest of the victims. Their daughters had died or healed, whereas Rosanna, unable to move most of her body, requires constant care.
Listening to crime victims: North Carolina restorative justice conference
by Lisa Rea
When crime victims speak about the effect violent crime has had on their lives you have to listen. On June 9th I moderated a crime victims roundtable during the 3rd Annual Restorative Justice Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina coordinated this year by Campbell University Law School. The roundtable called "Listening to Crime Victims: Their Journeys Toward Healing" was sponsored by the Journey of Hope: From Violence to Healing. The four victims of violence who told their stories were Bill Pelke, chair, Journey of Hope: From Violence to Healing (Alaska), Stephen Watt, Stephen Watt Ministries (Wyoming) , Bess Klassen-Landis, musician and teacher (Vermont), and Kim Book, executive director, Victims Voices Heard (Delaware). No matter how many crime victims panels I have moderated the stories are always riveting and often what I hear the victims say is new even when I am familiar with the stories. I learn something new as the victims move along in their lives---their own personal journeys.