Restorative justice in victim services
In this six minute YouTube video, Wendy Cohen describes her decision to meet with the mother and brother of the young man that murdered her daughter in 2003. Cohen describes wanting the other mother to see who her son killed and how important she was to everyone.
In describing the meeting, Cohen recounts the scepticism of both sides as the meeting began. She goes on to describe the asking of questions and sharing of tears.
In describing restorative justice and its impact in her life, Cohen says the system needs to change to allow the process at all levels of offending.
Mangakino awarded $30,000 after restorative justice process
From the article on Environment Waikato:
The Mangakino community is to receive $30,000 towards community projects from Taupo District Council (TDC) as part of a restorative justice ruling handed down last week by the Tokoroa District Court over illegal sewage dumping.
After a prosecution initiated by Environment Waikato, TDC pleaded guilty to illegally dumping sewage sludge at sites around the town in 2008. The discharges by TDC followed a series of problems with Mangakino’s sewage system.
EW consented to a restorative justice process that involved a meeting in Mangakino to work out how a suggested $27,000 fine could be put back into the local community.
Conference weighs options for systemic approach
From the article in the talking piece, newsletter of Partners in Restorative Initiatives:
Community leaders came together at the Next Steps Conference at City Hall on Saturday, September 18th  to discuss how restorative practices are already affecting our community – and to explore avenues for expanding those practices in a systemic way. Close to 60 people participated in the conference, which was the final offering of the Restorative Rochester Week events.
Criminals, community work together on successful mural project
From the article by Casey McNerthney:
Talking Friday about criminals he was asked to work with on a community mural, Lake City resident Chuck Dickey recalled his first reaction.
"I didn't want them here."
Nearly two years ago, the city proposed sending the offenders to the neighborhood as part of the Community Court program. Officials say 50 repeat, non-violent offenders were part of the recent effort -- mostly people convicted of prostitution, theft and criminal trespass. The program gives misdemeanor offenders the chance to get social services and work on projects designed to pay back the community.
Their work changed the minds of people like Dickey.
Jodi Cadman finds peace after forgiving man who murdered her brother
From the article by Cheryl Chan in The Province:
Jodi Cadman still recalls hanging up the phone in shock.
She had just been told that the man who stabbed her 16-year-old brother to death almost two decades previously wanted to get in touch.
"You literally get a phone call out of the blue saying, 'Would you like to receive a letter from the person who murdered your family member?'" Jodi says. "I was pretty shocked."
Approach with caution not cynicism: Rape and restorative justice
From the post by Nikki Godden on Inherently Human:
Typically, feminists are resistant to the idea of responding to rape – or sexual violence more generally – through restorative justice. After decades of campaigning to get the harms women suffer recognised in politics and law, their concerns that such a move will trivialise rape and provide only ‘cheap justice’ are fair. So too are the criticisms that restorative justice cannot address or appropriately account for the gendered power imbalances between the victim and offender, and that, as a result, it may cause further harm to the victim and fail to protect her and others from future violence. While this means I’m wary of restorative justice as a response to rape, I do think there is value in exploring this idea. Likewise, in a 2010 report Jennifer Brown et al. mention restorative justice as an ‘expanded justice alternative’ that could be considered – although they are similarly careful to set the sceptical feminist scene.
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.
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.
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.”
Huikahi Restorative Circles: Group process for self-directed reentry planning and family healing
....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.