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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 , ,

Free online course about conflict resolution, mediation, peer support, as well as strategies for improving the school and classroom climate, from 5 October to 9 November.

from the post by Anneke Van Hoek on the LinkedIn group on restorative justice, justice and reconciliation:

The course will be moderated by Helen Cowie and Pat Colliety from the University of Surrey (United Kingdom). It is free of charge and will take place online using the resources of the teachers' course from the EU-funded project VISTOP project (

Participants are expected to read the course materials throughout each week in their own time. The group of students will meet "face-to-face" each week for synchronous meetings at the virtual Anti-Violence-Campus in the virtual world of Second Life to engage in the topic for that week.

Final report from the International Conference on Restorative Justice and Victim-Offender Mediation

from the final report translated by Virginia Domingo:

The First International Conference on Restorative Justice and Victim-offender mediation was held in Burgos in March 2010, organized by the Victim-offender Mediation Service in Castilla y León (Burgos) with the collaboration of the University of Burgos, the city hall and the European forum for Restorative Justice. This was the first international conference organized in Spain on this subject. It was very successful and 250 persons from different parts of Spain and other countries such as Portugal and Mexico attended the Conference.

Oct 04, 2010

Response by Dr Martin Wright to European Commission consultation document: Taking action on rights, support and protection of victims of crime and violence

From the response by Dr. Martin Wright:

The key to this reply is in the last answer:  that in principle restorative justice practices should be available to all victims, subject only to the safeguards mentioned in the reply to Question 17.  Restorative processes are in the interests not only of victims, but also of offenders and the community.  

Victim-offender dialogue is valuable as an end in itself as well as a means to an end.  For many victims, action to make the offender less likely to re-offend is at least as high on their list of priorities as monetary compensation or reparation through work.  When the victim and offender agree on one of these methods of reparation, it is incumbent on the community to provide the resources to enable offenders to carry them out.  

Oct 01, 2010 , , , , , ,

Resolution by consensus

From the article by Pam Adams in the Journal Star: 

Community peace conferences have already had an effect on Peoria police Sgt. Shawn Wetzel, and the program hasn't officially started yet.

"Being in law enforcement 17 years, we've always seen people who hate each other," he said. "To see the victim and offender getting along at the end of the process is a surprise for me."

The "process" is the peace conference, face-to-face meetings between the victim, the offender and trained volunteers who, jointly, work out a resolution for the offense.

Sep 30, 2010 , , ,

The story of a wounded healer

From the article by Jackie Katounas in Issue 79 of the Rethinking Crime and Punishment Newsletter

For the best part of 25 years I was a career criminal, and often a prisoner - with little insight into the effects of my offending and limited respect for myself or others.

I am not an academic and I have had limited tertiary education. Instead my training and credibility has grown out of the harshness of my own life experiences.

Sep 29, 2010 , , ,

Restorative Services: Bringing a Framework for Improved School Culture to Public Schools

From the article by Lynn Welden in the Restorative Practices E-Forum for 21 September 2010: 

A new program is bringing restorative practices to schools. Community Service Foundation and Buxmont Academy (CSF Buxmont) — which operate day-treatment schools, foster homes and supervision programs for at-risk youth in eastern Pennsylvania, USA, and are model programs of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School — recently launched the Restorative Services program. Developed in response to a growing need on the part of public schools to deal with at-risk students on site, the Restorative Services program was introduced in fall 2009.

In the past, young people with behavioral, emotional and substance-abuse issues have been placed by school districts or local courts in alternative schools and community-based programs. But school districts in Pennsylvania, like those in many areas of the U.S. and other countries as well, have been under pressure lately to work with troubled students within their schools instead of sending them away.

Sep 28, 2010 ,

Reconciliation Village Hosts Victims, Perpetrators of Rwandan Genocide

From the article by Zack Baddorf on Voice of America News:

It's been more than 16 years since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda that left about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead. Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who was re-elected in August with 93 percent of the vote, says now there are no longer Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda, only Rwandans. As a test of how well the different ethnic groups can live together, victims and perpetrators of the genocide are living side-by-side in a small community known as the Reconciliation Village.

Sep 27, 2010 , , ,

Victim shows compassion for bat-wielding assailant in Coupeville attack

From the article by Jessie Stensland in The Seattle Post Intelligencer: 

One of the most serious assault cases in Coupeville in recent memory culminated in what a judge described as “a very unusual and heartwarming situation.”

Judge Alan Hancock lauded the victim, the defendant, the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney for taking part in a rare meeting that occurred prior to last Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.

“It’s an almost unprecedented situation for the court to hear about such a meeting,” Hancock said. “This is restorative justice, folks.”

Ryan Marti, a 17-year-old Coupeville boy, could have faced a decade in adult prison if either the prosecutor or victim had insisted that he go to trial in adult criminal court on a charge of first-degree assault.

Instead, a plea bargain moved the case in juvenile court, where Marti pleaded guilty to assault in the second degree. He will serve about two years in a juvenile detention facility.

Sep 24, 2010 ,

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