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What were they thinking? Horse farms and inmates?

from the blog entry by Peter Hermann on BaltimoreSun.com:

It was one of those feel-good programs that come across reporters' desks nearly every day. This was from the state prison system: "Restorative Justice Benefits Women Inmates and Starving Horses."

Here's what the news release said:

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services today added yet another to its growing list of unique restorative justice inmate initiatives, putting a work crew comprised of female inmates at Howard County’s Days End Farm Horse Rescue. The inmates, from the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCI-W) in Jessup, will begin with grounds maintenance and landscaping, and eventually move into equine care. “What we try to do with these restorative justice programs is not only give inmates skills and the chance to pay back the society they’ve harmed, but meaningful projects that really do make a difference in the lives of people -- and in this case, horses,” said DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynard.

Only state prison officials forgot to tell the neighbors of the horse farm, as well as the young volunteers who work there. Now, state officials have shut down the program, according to a story by The Baltimore Sun's Larry Carson.

Jul 23, 2010 , , , ,

Hatfield research into youth crime project

from the article by Alex Lewis in St Albans and Harpenden Review:

A scheme to bring children in care homes who cause trouble together with their victims has been a success, a study at Hatfield's University of Hertfordshire has shown.

Jul 22, 2010 , , ,

Offenders provide for food pantries

from Vicki Rock's article in the Daily American:

People sentenced to probation are working in a community garden that provides fresh produce to food pantries in Somerset County.

“This is a learning experience and is part of BARJ — Balanced and Restorative Justice — that teaches offenders that they need to work to benefit the community,” said Michael Sopich, community service coordinator. “This is good for the community — people who may not be able to afford produce can get it. Those who work in the garden learn where produce comes from and they can then put in gardens at home.”

A community garden had been in Somerset years ago, but was stopped. The probation department restarted the garden last year. Robert and Tomalee Will donated about one acre for the garden. They use their farm equipment and fertilizer to prepare the soil. Will also planted 24 rows of corn.

Jul 22, 2010 , , ,

Vandals repair damage they did

from the article in NewsWales.co.uk:

Last November a group of young people caused criminal damage to the Rhydyfelin Children’s Centre in Holly Street, Rhydyfelin, by smashing windows and lights, removing a gas meter cover, and spraying graffiti.

Following a successful police investigation five local boys aged 9 to 13 were identified by CCTV and traced.

After admitting to what they had done, and at the request of the centre manager, a restorative justice meeting was held with the police, the centre, the boys and their parents. It was agreed that the boys would carry out work at the centre as recompense for their actions.

Jul 21, 2010 , , ,

Restorative justice is neighborhood effort in Seward and Greater Longfellow

from the article by Elaine Klaassen in Southside Pride:

The Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice Partnership is a joint project with Seward Neighbor-hood Group and Longfellow Community Council. Since its inception there has been wide neighborhood support for a program that instead of sending juvenile offenders through the court system allows them to make amends, or at least make things as right as possible. The premise of the program is that “crime damages people, communities and relationships. If crime is about harm, then justice should emphasize repairing the harm.”

Jul 21, 2010 , ,

Why socialists and egalitarians hate the Big Society

from the commentary by Ed West in the Telegraph:

A few months ago I visited a London prison where a group of volunteers were running a programme of restorative justice. Once a week and usually more these women would sacrifice hours of their time to go to a depressing environment to help complete strangers. Not just complete strangers, but not particularly nice ones either.

These are just the sorts of people David Cameron wants more of for his “Big Society”, which he’s re-launching today. It says much about the way socialist thinking has completely penetrated British life that even the idea of a voluntary society in which the state does not arrange everything is now considered unexplainably complicated to the British public.

Jul 20, 2010 ,

Let's talk it over

from Julia Proctor's article in The Age:

Course road test: Bachelor of arts (advocacy and mediation) at Victoria University

Sounds a bit different . . .

Funny you should say that. This three-year degree, at VU's Footscray Park campus in Melbourne's west, is unusual, says course co-ordinator Deborah Tyler, who adds that there is nothing else quite like it in Australia. The course brings together elements of social policy, law and conflict-resolution training, preparing students for positions involving advocacy or mediation on behalf of disadvantaged groups or individuals involved in conflict.

Jul 20, 2010 , , ,

City, community groups express pride following protests

From Jill Replogle's article in Oakland North:

As Oakland awaits next month’s sentencing of Johannes Mehserle, the BART police officer convicted last Thursday of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant, authorities, community groups and onlookers congratulated each other on the mostly non-violent protests that followed the verdict last Thursday. Joint planning among city, police and community groups helped keep the peace, they say.

Jul 19, 2010 , , , ,

Time for a fresh start: The report of the Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Antisocial Behaviour

From the executive summary of the report by the Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Antisocial Behaviour:

The Commission’s inquiry was prompted by concern about deep-rooted failings in the response to antisocial behaviour and crime involving children and young people. Large sums of public money are currently wasted across England and Wales because:

  • Investment in proven preventive measures and constructive sanctions is too low
  • Children and young people who could be turned away from a life of crime are not receiving timely help and support
  • Those involved in persistent and serious offending are often treated in ways that do little to prevent reoffending – and may make their criminal behaviour worse.
...The Commission has concluded that the public can be offered
better protection against youth crime and antisocial behaviour by:
  • tackling antisocial behaviour, crime and reoffending through the underlying circumstances and needs in children and young people’s lives (a principle of prevention)
  • ensuring that children and young people responsible for antisocial behaviour and crime face meaningful consequences that hold them accountable for the harm caused to victims and the wider community (a principle of restoration)
  • seeking to retain children and young people who offend within mainstream society or to reconnect them in ways that enable them to lead law-abiding lives (a principle of ntegration).

Jul 16, 2010 , , , ,

Restorative justice.

From John Malkin's article in Good Times:

Downtown Santa Cruz, a high school student takes clothes from a store without paying and is caught in the act. Instead of going to jail, she agrees to meet with a store manager to discuss the act and mutually agree on what to do next. 

An elementary school garden is destroyed by teenagers. During a restorative dialogue, the teenagers sob with sadness, realizing the affect they’ve had on the younger kids who put so much energy into growing their garden.

A math teacher’s car is broken into by a young man. They agree to discuss the event in a restorative meeting. The two come to understand each other’s perspective, forgiveness arises and the teacher ends up offering to help tutor the youth in math.

During a downtown May Day celebration, windows of 18 businesses are smashed. A sharing circle offers people the chance to discuss how they were affected by the property destruction, and to discover possible ways of building community.

These are examples of a growing trend in responding to harmful actions and building trust between individuals and communities called Restorative Justice. Restorative Justice (RJ) is a philosophy that incorporates a diversity of tools to restore safety and connection through voluntary dialogue and mutual agreement. Often these meetings lead to transformational changes in people’s lives.

Jul 16, 2010 ,

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