Knife robber meets victim
from the article in Lancaster Guardian:
A woman who was robbed at knifepoint visited her teenage attacker in prison to receive an apology from him as part of a restorative justice project.
Police offered Zoe Harrison the chance to meet Arron Burns, 18, at Lancaster Farms, to help her bring closure to her ordeal.
Dispute Resolution Foundation gets $34 million injection from EU
from the Jamaica Information Service:
The work of the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF) has been bolstered by a J$34 million injection from the European Union for a project dubbed 'We Want Justice'.
The project, which aims to advance democratic rights, through the promotion of alternative dispute resolution, was launched Thursday (March 4), at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston. It aims to carry out its mandate through mediation, arbitration and restorative justice practices.
Can restorative justice become too routine?
I feel a little strange asking this question, especially considering the work of advocates to see restorative justice become more wide spread. But, this is something that I’ve been pondering for a while and even more after seeing a brief news item about a defendant being referred to a pre-sentence restorative process for a “careless driving causing death” charge. The news item is short and I don’t know all the issues surrounding the case, but it gave me pause since the victim who died was the son of the defendant.
I began asking questions about who the victim would be in such a case. As the news item says, the defendant and her family all have to deal with the reality of the loss. While I can see some definite benefits for this family of coming together to discuss the incident and its affects on each of their lives, I also feel for this mother who is “offender” and “victim” at the same time. It just seems that the process will have to be different to respond to the needs of participants.
The real question is, "What's the purpose of the restorative encounter?"
Locking up non-violent youths costs millions and does little to reduce crime
Whilst much of our work focuses on unnecessary imprisonment, we also champion alternatives to custody which have the potential to offer young people, and the communities they come from, a better deal. This is where restorative justice, a way of resolving conflict and repairing harm by bringing the offender and the victim together through closely managed ‘conferences’ or meetings, comes in.
The case for restorative justice, or restorative approaches as it is also known, has been building on the ground for some time now, with many schools and residential children's homes around the country using restorative practices to great effect as an alternative to traditional forms of punishment and conflict resolution.
Why is criminal justice only partially privatized?
Ric Simmons has written an article that makes sense of two long-term trends in the privatizing of criminal justice. He links a growing body of legal scholarship about private policing to an enormous academic literature on restorative justice, and reframes them both as part of a long-term trend toward co-existing public and private systems for delivery of criminal justice.
Simmons begins this enterprise by describing the enormous growth of private law enforcement in the United States over the last few decades....
The second major component of this article is a review of the far-flung literature on “restorative justice,” a method of responding to crimes that emphasizes the experience of the crime victim, both during the adjudication of the charge and in the selection and execution of the punishment. After summarizing the diverse literature on this topic (drawn from criminology, psychology, and other disciplines) Simmons moves to the heart of his project: he draws out the connections between these two phenomena.
New Items in the RJ Online Database
New additions to the RJ Online research database over the last week covered several issues related to indigenous courts, work in Northern Ireland, paramilitary demobilisation, incarcerated youth, victim support and evaluation.
After murders, families find a healing path
Note: Forgiveness is a controversial and difficult topic for many victims of crime. Nevertheless, there are victims who are able to forgive those who have harmed them severely. They do this for many reasons -- there may be as many reasons as there are victims who forgive.
After restorative encounters, some victims find that they wish to forgive the offender. This is not the goal of restorative justice, however. The value of restorative encounters for victims is to achieve some measure of healing; in some instances that includes forgiveness. The following article is the story of survivors of two brutal murders who have chosen to forgive.
Four sisters — Ruth, Frieda, Bess and Suzy — have lived 40 years without their mother. Helen Klassen, a Sunday school teacher, was murdered March 14, 1969.
Bill Pelke’s grandmother, Ruth Pelke, was killed by four teenage girls in Gary who robbed her house May 14, 1985.
These acts of violence devastated two families and, for the Klassen sisters, infected the years of their youth. Their path to adulthood was fraught with struggles of how to heal and when to forgive.
On March 15 at College Mennonite Church, Pelke and three of the Klassen sisters spoke about their evolution from fear and anger to healing and forgiveness. Their stories have been told around the world through Journey of Hope, an organization co-founded by Pelke and led by murder victims’ family members, such as the Klassens, who oppose the death penalty.
What role should crime victims play in plea bargains?
Prosecutors represent the state, not crime victims, and they're charged with seeking justice, not convictions. But the Houston Press published a feature questioning whether prosecutors should be required to notify crime victims or get their sign-off before entering into a plea deal. The Harris County DA's Office says "There is no obligation to give advance notice to all victims of plea bargains," a policy which has the Mayor's crime victim advocate Andy Kahan hopping mad.
Africville apology is a start, not an end
This week's apology by city of Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly, for the evictions and razing of the African-Canadian community of Africville in Nova Scotia during the 1960s, marks a small but significant moment in the history of slavery and racism in Canada. The official apology issued February 24, 2010, made on behalf of Halifax Regional Council and Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), was accompanied by terms of the 2005 agreement reached between the municipality and the Africville Genealogy Society, which, along with a formal acknowledgment of loss, included:
- $3 million (CAN) contributed towards the reconstruction of the Seaview United Baptist Church which will serve as a memorial to Africville;
- 2.5 acres of land at Seaview Park to be provided to the Africville Heritage Trust Board;
- a park maintenance agreement to be established between Africville Heritage Trust and HRM for the lands known as Seaview Park;
- and, the establishment of an African-Nova Scotian Affairs function within HRM.
Amnesty and justice in Afghanistan: "a nose made of dough"
British newspapers including The Guardian recently reported that a controversial amnesty law, approved by Afghanistan parliament, is being brought into force without having been announced in the weeks leading up to the London Conference on Afghanistan. The amnesty precludes prosecution for war crimes committed in conflicts during previous decades.
The amnesty law, under the title of the “national peace and reconciliation charter”, was shelved for almost two years after being passed by a small majority in January 2007 by both the Afghan house of representatives and the senate. Although Afghan President Hamid Karzai was reported to have approved the law in March 2007, hailing it as “Parliament’s initiative for strengthening peace in Afghanistan”, the fate of the law remained unclear until recently, with no reference to it in the Afghan Law Gazette.