1,000 children avoid criminal record with apology
Devon and Cornwall Police believe that by adopting a more “flexible” approach to “low-level” crime, including graffiti, shoplifting and some public order offences, they can reduce re-offending rates and stop youngsters going to court unnecessarily.
Since the programme’s launch last November, 1,031 first-time young offenders aged between 10 and 17 have written letters to victims, painted over graffiti and paid for stolen goods.
Chicago teens encourage nonviolent actions
In Chicago, the problem of youth violence is difficult to escape or ignore. After the highly publicized beating death of a Chicago teenager in September, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited the city and called for a national conversation on youth violence. More than a month later, Chicagoans are talking. Some teens are spending long hours strategizing about how to stop violence, but still others voice frustration over attacks that remain a constant in their lives.
Dignity in Schools Campaign releasing national resolution for ending school pushout
from the Restorative Practices eForum:
Over 180 organizations from across the country, including the International Institute for Restorative Practices, have signed on to support the Dignity in Schools Campaign National Resolution for Ending School Pushout, a call to action for our school systems to end harsh discipline policies and law enforcement tactics that push too many young people out of school each year. The resolution calls for schools to implement positive alternatives that protect the human rights of young people and keep students in school, including "evidence-based discipline policies and practices, such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and restorative practices.”
10 ways to live restoratively
1. Take relationships seriously, envisioning yourself in an interconnected web of people, institutions and the environment.
2. Try to be aware of the impact - potential as well as actual - of your actions on others and the environment.
3. When your actions negatively impact others, take responsibility by acknowledging and seeking to repair the harm - even when you could probably get away with avoiding or denying it. (To craft a letter of apology, see the Apology Letter website developed by Loreen Walker and Ben Furman.)
4. Treat everyone respectfully, even those you don’t expect to encounter again, even those you feel don’t deserve it, even those who have harmed or offended you or others.
5. Involve those affected by a decision, as much as possible, in the decision-making process.
Video of Bougainville conference
from the Peacebuilding Compared website:
On the 13 and 14th June 2007 a public conference was held at Hutjena High School Hall in Buka on Building Sustainable Peace in Bougainville. It was timed to coincide with the 2nd anniversary of autonomous government for Bougainville and was part of the official program of celebrations for the anniversary.
It was an opportunity for the people of Bougainville to draw their own lessons from their history, to reflect on the strengths of Bougainville society in building sustainable peace and development and to look forward thinking critically about where there is still work to be done.
Dec 03, 2009 National Reconciliation
Restorative justice: New approaches in Brazil
Today, most of the deaths of Brazilian adolescents are caused by gang-related murders.
To counteract gangs’ advanced organization police repression looks more and more like guerrilla. However, the government is realizing that a strictly adversarial approach is not going to advance a resolution.
In the mid-1990s, Dominic Barter began working with favela residents, including drug gang members, to help them strengthen nonviolent options for working with young people. “I saw violence as a monologue,” said Barter, referring to both gang activity and its repression, “I wanted to create a dialogue.”
Peacebuilding Compared Project
from the project's website:
The United Nations is putting foreign troops and police into peacekeeping operations more than in the past. So are other organisations like the African Union. What works in peacebuilding? What are the kinds of interventions that create wars and make things worse for the people? How can international peacebuilding and international law contribute to justice and human development after armed conflict? These are the questions we seek to answer in the Peacebuilding Compared Project.
Dec 02, 2009 National Reconciliation
John Braithwaite video introduction to restorative justice
John Braithwaite is a leader in restorative justice (and in many other fields). He teaches at Australian National University which has now posted an 18 minute video in which he explains the basic theories and applications of restorative justice.
It is well done, and is presented in segments, which means it can be used in whole or in part.
Restorative Justice: Where are we now and where are we going? Getting real.
With the March 3 release of One in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections in the wake of our current economic woes, many of those who work in our community's trenches are relishing the bittersweet moment as we utter, “I told you so”. Thirty years of struggling to control the impacts of rapid social migration, challenges to family structures, and the media's overriding influence, our nation has supported increasingly invasive punishments or wildly permissive privileges and excuses. And it should come as no surprise that the punishments have been disproportionately visited upon our most challenged populations.
As we look at the potential inherent in restorative justice to bring people to their senses in actively responsible ways—will this be done while also taking the time to address the structural harms we've incurred through unprecedented levels of social exclusion? Social exclusions that begin at pre-school, follow up through failure to graduate from school with marketable skills, into our courts and prisons, then aggravated by the continual lack of support for re-entry strategies that bring people back into the community prepared to support themselves and others in meaningful ways. While across town in an up-scale neighborhood another person undermines their colleagues' ability to support themselves and their family but is not held to account because they can afford to get away with it. Our current investment in justice leaves many of us cynical and frustrated. We are weary of adding new layers of unfunded mandates and increasing penalties to increase our neighbor's chances of having their daily lives better protected. A recent statement at our state's General Assembly session brought waves of self-conscious laughter when one representative commented that they were not aware that there were any misdemeanors left but they were all now classified as felonies.
Making Good in England: Engaging with the public for restorative justice reform
by Dan Van Ness
There is no more interesting laboratory for restorative justice implementation right now than England and Wales. For several years the government has embarked on a campaign to mainstream restorative responses in the Youth Justice System. One of the characteristics of this effort – at least as viewed from outside – has been a willingness to try new approaches.
The Youth Justice System is overseen by the Youth Justice Board, whose website is well worth reviewing by any other government attempting to place restorative values and processes in the context of a complete systemic response. Its section on the Youth Justice System is rich with information, and is frequently updated.
One new feature is the Making Good Project, which invites members of the public from North West England to propose community reparation activities to assign to young offenders. It offers examples of reparation projects currently used (along with testimonials from young offenders and the beneficiaries of their work). After outlining the guidelines to determine acceptable projects, it invites public recommendations. It even features a new blog which is expected to relate stories about reparation and youth justice. These are admirable (and exemplary) efforts to recruit support from the general public.