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Beyond protest: Rethinkers’ music conveys solutions

From the article by Benny Amon in the San Francisco Bay View:

The library turned conference room at the newly rebuilt Langston Hughes Academy fell silent as Rethinkers Earl Poole Jr. and Terriana Julien took the stage. Drummer Tori Washington created a meditative texture with crescendoing cymbal rolls as Poole and Julien began to sing “Reee…storative Juuuu…stice.” Following the mood setting performance, and as the jam-packed audience of media, education activists, school administrators, principals and proud parents clapped, Lucy Tucker, Renee Smith and Kamau Johnson took the stage. Addressing a pensive audience, they discussed the culture of violence and discipline in their schools, and stated they wanted an alternative to suspension and expulsion – practices, they said, that add to school dropout rates and the “school to prison pipeline.” Their alternative: something called restorative justice.

Oct 19, 2010 , , ,

You are forgiven: Family reunites with castaway son

From the article in the Solomon Star:

“YOU are my son again” was the statement the son and the audience were waiting to hear.

George Topou, has been waiting hopelessly to hear that statement from his father’s mouth, and it did emotionally assemble tears in everyone’s eyes, when John Tepala screamed them out loud with tears yesterday.

Topou is a prisoner who is the ninth to reconcile with his victim and family members through the Sycamore Tree project.

Oct 18, 2010 , , , , ,

Prisons, rehabilitation and justice

by Lynette Parker

Recently, I read an article about the struggles faced by the state of Florida after the US Supreme Court banned sentences of life without parole for juveniles who do not kill anyone. In the discussion over the need to revisit cases and re-sentence the offenders, one retired judge was quoted:

“There are no resources in prisons for rehabilitation,'' the former judge said. ``You give him 30 years, and he'll get out when he's 45, what's he going to do? Re-offend. Some people, regardless of their age, need to be put away forever.” 

Oct 15, 2010 , , , , , , , , ,

Huikahi Restorative Circles: Group process for self-directed reentry planning and family healing

from Lorenn Walker's article in European Journal of Probation:

....The Huikahi Circle is a facilitated reentry planning group process for individual incarcerated people, their invited supporters, and at least one prison representative.

The incarcerated person determines what they want and the group helps her determine how best to achieve her goals. It can result in better outcomes for people leaving prison or drug treatment programs than case planning and case management where professionals make decisions for others.

Oct 14, 2010 , , , , , ,

My story

by Sandy Eversole

My 19 year old Son David was killed at the hands of a drunk driver on July 19th 2009. :(

He was a Track and Field star here in Colorado Springs at the collegiate level and high school level. As a freshman in college he broke 9 school records, and in his senior year in high school he broke a 30-year record at the 5A State meet in the 200 meters.

I raised him on my own and he was my best buddy, an old soul. He kept all his medals in a shoebox underneath his bed. Very humble...

Oct 13, 2010

One week left to sign up for Restorative Justice!

from the European Forum for Restorative Justice:

The deadline for the Forum's online petition to be submitted to the European Commission and the European Parliament has been postponed to 15 October!

Until now our (and of course your) action has resulted in 1700 signatures in a little over 3 months!

But we can do better!

Archbishop's lecture on prison reform, restorative justice and community

from the article on The Archbishop of York's blog:

Dr John Sentamu questioned the deterrent effect of imprisonment, severity of sentencing, the pivotal role of communities and the need for restorative justice in his Prisoners Education Trust Annual Lecture.

Dr John Sentamu said, "We should be pained and troubled by the size of our prison population in Britain, the sheer number of individuals who have given up on community – and feel that community has given up on them. We need to show love and compassion while ensuring justice is served and seen to be served".

Oct 11, 2010 , , , ,

Michael Vick, Bill Simmons, forgiveness and restorative justice

from Eliyahu Fink's post on Pacific Jewish Center:

Bill Simmons (aka The Sports Guy) wrote a recent [] column about Michael Vick and his comeback.

....Simmons writes that Vick emerged as the “feel good story” of the NFL. But his wife disagrees. The Sports Gal cannot forgive Vick. The Sports Gal says that if you love dogs, you cannot possibly forgive Vick. Sport Guy retorts that Vick did everything humanly possibly to pay for his crimes, apologize and rehabilitate his life. He lost EVERYTHING. He said he was genuinely sorry. He is fixing what he broke. Vick is a real Restorative Justice story. And Bill Simmons forgives him. Mrs. Simmons loves dogs too much to forgive Vick.

The article is a great read and I recommend reading it.

Oct 08, 2010 , , ,

Restorative Justice Dialogue: An essential guide for research and practice

Restorative Justice Dialogue: An essential guide for research and practice. Mark Umbreit and Marilyn Peterson Armour (2010). New York: Springer Publishing Co. 339 pages.

reviewed by Eric Assur:

Inviting Howard Zehr, known as the grandfather of restorative justice (RJ), to write the forward of this book is reflective of the wisdom of the two authors, both social work professors and founders of peace and justice programs in large university settings.  Zehr compliments Umbreit and Armour for writing a valuable ‘state of the union’ book to summarize how the discipline has grown in thirty years.

It is difficult to find flaws in this eleven chapter review of the philosophy, practices and programs which fit under the rubric of RJ. Unlike an anthology or collection of journal articles or chapters written by many authors, this book reflects the smooth writing style, with a few helpful tables and easy to follow figures, of the Umbreit-Armour team. They offer the up to date and well documented wisdom of many subject area experts in a comprehensive and cogent fashion. 

Oct 07, 2010 , , , , ,

From death row to elusive freedom

from the article by Ron Keine on Other Words:

Now I can eat eggs every morning. But every night I relive my death row experiences. Every day, I still struggle to contain the anger rising inside of me.

Frankly, every time I awaken from this nightmare of finding myself back on death row, I'm embarrassed. I have been out for a long time. I should be over it by now. But every time I get lost in a book or daydream, when I wake up in the morning, or look up from a crossword puzzle or read a newspaper, the feeling creeps up on me. I'm back on death row. And I am not alone.

Oct 06, 2010 , ,

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