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Churches grapple with whether to welcome convicted sex offenders

from the article by Adelle M. Banks in the Washington Post:

"All are welcome" is a common phrase on many a church sign and Web site. But what happens when a convicted sex offender is at the door?

Church officials and legal advocates are grappling with how -- and whether -- people who have been convicted of sex crimes should be included in U.S. congregations, especially when children are present:

Jul 30, 2010 , , , , ,

Vandalism discovered at home of activists

from the article by Evan Brandt at pottstownmercury.com:

Four days after speaking out at a Borough Council meeting about the need to more closely regulate landlords, Katy Jackson woke up to find that green paint had been sprayed along the wall and side door of her house.

And some reed fencing she and her husband David had recently erected was slashed.

Police investigating the incident said there is no evidence that the vandalism was related to her outspokenness, and the evidence points to a random act of vandalism by a handful of teens.

Jul 30, 2010 , ,

Could Oakland become a restorative justice city?

from Dave Belden's entry on Tikkun Daily:

Is it possible for one city to become a model for restorative justice? Can you imagine a ten year plan to make it happen? I don’t know what that might look like but I really want to hear from people who have ideas about it. Here’s an article Edwin Rutsch sent me describing the work of a number of people in Santa Cruz, California, who have that dream for their city. They say that the cities of Hull, England and Rochester, New York have already become “Restorative Cities.”

Jul 29, 2010 , ,

European Commission's Victims' Package: Consultation on taking action on rights, support and protection of victims of crime and violence

from the announcement in the European Commission's Freedom, Security and Justice area:

The Commission intends to adopt a package of measures, including a Directive on minimum standards for victims of crime, in the first half of 2011 in particular to replace the 2001 Framework Decision on the standing of victims. This consultation gives stakeholders the opportunity to present their views about which concrete actions could be developed at EU level that would bring real added value. It will also give the Commission an insight into concrete experiences of those working with victims of crime, particularly regarding the difficulties they encounter when assisting victims and the problems faced by those victims. The Commission is looking in particular for reliable data, factual information and specific real-life examples, regarding both problems and solutions.

Jul 29, 2010 , , , , ,

Criminals could cut sentences by saying ‘sorry’

from the by Anushka Asthana and Jamie Doward in The Observer:

Tens of thousands of offenders may be able to reduce their sentences by making personal apologies to their victims, under plans for a “rehabilitation revolution” in the criminal justice system.

Crispin Blunt, the prisons minister, is considering the move as part of a drive to offer victims the chance to come face-to-face with the person who committed the crime against them. A report released today by two charities, Victim Support and the Restorative Justice Consortium, suggests the policy could save £185m in two years by cutting reoffending.

Jul 28, 2010 , , , , , ,

Crime victims treated like the 'poor relation'

from Dominic Casciani's article on BBC.co.uk:

The first commissioner for victims of crime in England and Wales says the criminal justice system treats them as a poor relation and an afterthought.

Too often victims found themselves a "sideshow" as police, prisons, lawyers and the courts focused on the offender, Louise Casey said.

She said too much time was spent trying to help all crime victims, rather than focusing on those in genuine need.

Jul 28, 2010 , , , , ,

Restorative justice’s impact on participants’ psychological and physical health

from the study by Tanya Rugge & Terri-Lynne Scott:

Research on restorative justice has cited many positive benefits for participants. For example, restorative justice processes are satisfying to both victims and offenders. However, despite references made to positive impacts on participants’ well-being, few studies specifically examine the impact of restorative justice processes on participants’ psychological health and physical health using specific health indicators.

This study utilized a quasi-experimental, repeated-measures design to assess changes in psychological and physical health in 92 participants (50 victims and 42 offenders) who experienced a restorative justice process.

Jul 27, 2010 ,

Huikahi Restorative Circles: A public health approach for reentry planning

from the article by Lorenn Walker and Rebecca Greening in Federal Probation:

....The Huikahi Restorative Circle is a group process for reentry planning that involves the incarcerated individual, his or her family and friends, and at least one prison representative. The process was developed in 2005 in collaboration with two community-based organizations—the Hawai’i Friends of Civic &Law Related Education and the Community Alliance on Prisons—and the Waiawa Correctional Facility located on the island of O’ahu.

Jul 27, 2010 , , , , , ,

Request for assistance regarding a South African case

from Ann Skelton:

Mike Batley and I are currently working on a Constitutional Court case in South Africa in which we are arguing that the civil justice system has not kept pace with developments in the criminal justice system to encourage more restorative justice approaches.

The case in point is a civil claim for damages for defamation of character by a school teacher against school pupils who manufactured a naughty (but funny from an adolescent perspective) picture of him by pasting his head on the body of a gay wrestler. The picture was on the school notice board for 30 minutes, and some children in the school also received the image via their cell phones.

The children were punished in school (5 detentions + honours colours taken away), were charged criminally and were diverted (they completed 56 hours of community service at the zoo), they attempted to apologise, and have now been successfully sued through the civil justice system to pay damages. They now appeal to the Constitutional Court. Their main arguments have to do with Freedom of expression and 'jest' as a defence, but the Restorative Justice Centre is entering as amicus curiae to make various points about restorative justice.

Jul 26, 2010 , ,

Youth win on Chicago Public Schools guards, grievance process

from the article by Curtis Black on communitymediaworkshop.org:

In a victory for two youth organizing drives, CPS has agreed to establish a grievance procedure for students experiencing violence, harassment or discrimination, and to pilot a program training security guards to use principles of restorative justice in their work.

Both campaigns promote the restorative justice approach – emphasizing accountability as an alternative to zero tolerance and punitive discipline – as a more effective approach to reducing violence, said Sam Finkelstein of GenderJust, an LGTB student group that protested at CPS headquarters and at CPS chief Ron Huberman’s home to demand a grievance procedure.

Jul 26, 2010 , , ,

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