International restorative justice week: miracles and certainty
This week is International Restorative Justice Week. Last week on Australian Story, Kerry Tucker told her story of restoration back into the community after being incarcerated for seven years. She’s currently finishing her PhD and lecturing at Swinburne University. It’s a remarkable story and she’s an inspirational woman. What I found particularly moving about her story was how much of a struggle she found re-entering the community post-imprisonment, even though she is a strong woman with exceptional communication skills, family support to fall back on and educational qualifications. She said herself, ‘After a few days out, I just wanted to go back to prison’.
To teach empathy, you simply teach listening
Listening is under–rated. We take it for granted as something that we know how to do. Teaching deep compassionate listening is part of learning how to do restorative justice and certainly how to be in Circle.
South African shock as alleged rape victim charged
South African rights groups have expressed shock at a decision to charge a 15-year-old alleged gang-rape victim with having underage sex.
The girl was charged with statutory rape along with her alleged rapists, who are aged 14 and 16.
Rethinking the politics of crime
It is fair to say that many American criminal justice officials live in fear of finding themselves in a similar position to Crispin Blunt: out on an island, on the wrong side of the “tough on crime” debate. This understandable fear has broad consequences for the field of criminal justice. Among other things, it creates a risk-averse environment where both policymakers and practitioners are reluctant to challenge the status quo and test new ideas.
This is a problem that Aubrey Fox and I examine in our new book Trial and Error in Criminal Justice Reform: Learning from Failure (2010: Urban Institute Press). The central argument of the book is that criminal justice officials should adopt a lesson from the field of science, embracing the trial-and-error process and talking more honestly about how difficult it is to change the behavior of offenders and reduce chronic offending in crime-plagued urban neighborhoods.
Monetary relief for rape victims soon
A week after the Union Cabinet gave its nod to a gender empowering legislation that will protect women from sexual harassment at the workplace, another landmark scheme — to provide financial aid to rape victims — could soon be a reality. Decks have been cleared to provide rape victims or their legal heirs with financial aid to ensure "restorative justice" in the form of legal and medical assistance, shelter, counselling and other support services.
Don’t take Genesee Justice for granted
The great Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.” This single phrase to me epitomizes the very essence of how our criminal justice system in our country should operate.
She also wrote, “It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” For 30 years, Genesee Justice has been a pulse that tends to the souls of our victims of crime and to the destiny of the offenders that have perpetrated those crimes.
Restorative justice after mass violence: Opportunities and risks for children and youth
abstract from the UNICEF Innocenti Working Paper by Laura Stovel and Marta Valinas:
There is growing interest in the role that restorative justice can play in addressing mass atrocities. This paper describes the associated principles and practices within juvenile justice systems and in societies emerging from mass violence. It also examines the meaning, opportunities and limitations of restorative justice in transitional societies, particularly in relation to the needs of young victims and offenders.
Latinos engaged in restorative justice
Latinos are highly represented among the incarcerated population, but they are not just standing by while this happens. Their efforts to implement restorative justice to bring healing to their communities are being noticed and being supported by promoters in this field.
New law compensates 'cold case' victims
Rep. Renny Cushing said he saw one shortcoming in the bill signed into law last year establishing for the first time in the state's history a Cold Case Unit assigned to work exclusively on unsolved murder cases.
The Democratic state representative from Hampton said the bill didn't address the needs of surviving victims who may be traumatized by the reopening of an investigation into their loved ones death. That is why he sponsored a bill, which became law three weeks ago, that allows family of cold case homicides to be eligible for victim compensation regardless of the date of the crime.
Restorative justice, forgiveness, and victims of crime
....I follow Howard Zehr (2005, p. 47) in thinking about forgiveness, when he argued that
Forgiveness is letting go of the power the offense and the offender have over a person. It means no longer letting that offense and offender dominate. Without this experience of forgiveness, without this closure, the wound festers, the violation takes over our consciousness, our lives. It, and the offender, are in control. Real forgiveness, then, is an act of empowerment and healing. It allows one to move from victim to survivor.