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Meet the modern high schooler

from the article by Joanne Laucius in The Ottawa Citizen:

....Meanwhile, it's hard to be angst-ridden when you are the product of anti-bullying and self-esteem initiatives. Many high schools have a part-time addictions councillor and a gay-straight alliance. Programs like restorative justice, peer mediation and Online Safety Week bring a sense of justice and consequences to students on a day-to-day basis.

Aug 26, 2010 , , ,

Not Just an Apology

by Lynette Parker

Recently, I read the headline Apologising to victims will not reduce reoffending rates in a Google news alert. I quickly scanned the article. The author was very critical of restorative justice, questioning the possibility that restorative processes could help lower reoffending rates. In describing the criminal justice system, Mark Johnson says, “The job of the criminal justice system is not to be victim-centric but to be detached, clinical and fair.” He goes on to say, “…how can empowering victims cut reoffending? Only working with offenders can do that.”

As I finished reading his arguments, I had to agree with part of what Johnson said. But, I also realised that some of the criticism has a lot to do with a misunderstanding of restorative justice.

Aug 26, 2010 ,

Norfolk police deal with offenders as young as four

from the article by Ben Kendall in Norwich Evening News:

Child offenders as young as four have been dealt with by police in Norfolk using alternatives to court, new figures have revealed.

According to statistics released by Norfolk police under the Freedom of Information Act, more than 500 under-12s are dealt with using restorative justice each year.

Aug 25, 2010 , , ,

Restorative justice vs perfomance targets....

from UKPOLICEONLINE Discussion Forum:

Hello all,

My force are introducing restorative justice as an alternative to court, and this will primarily be aimed at young offenders. Restorative justice has received a mixed reception and was hoping forum members could share their thoughts and experiences from their own forces. I think its a good idea, and a move away from chasing performance targets has got to be a good think, or are performance targets still applied?? any thoughts gratefully received.

Aug 24, 2010 , , , , ,

Our justice system requires us to punish wrongdoers, what if there were a better way?

from the entry by Mikhail Lyubansky on race-talk:

For those of us living in the United States, “doing justice” is mostly synonymous with administering punishment.  We may not literally follow the Biblical edict of “an eye for an eye”, but most of us still believe that “the punishment must fit the crime”.  Indeed, many of us would be hard pressed to even come up with an alternative justice system.

Yet alternatives abound in the form of restorative justice.

Aug 23, 2010 , , , , , , , ,

Relations of domination and subordination: Challenges for restorative justice in responding to domestic violence

from the paper by Julie Stubbs:

Barbara Hudson is cautious in her approach to RJ: she summarises the appeal of RJ in ‘the openness of story telling and exploration of possibilities for constructive and creative responses to offences’. In the context of domestic violence she suggests that RJ offers the victim ‘the opportunity to choose how to present herself… [to express] her feelings, her understanding of events, her wishes and demands for the future’. However, Hudson recognises that the discursiveness of RJ is not without problems such as the risk of domination and the reproduction of power relations and she emphasizes the need for ‘strong procedural safeguards’.

Aug 20, 2010 ,

Restorative justice

from the entry on Ben's Prison Blog:

The Big Problem with the criminal justice system is that it is firmly wedded to the idea of causing mutual harm - you hurt me, so I hurt you back. That so few people recognise that this merely increases the sum of human suffering and social harm is an indictment on the popular imagination. Or a testament to the resilience of our atavistic urges to lash out at those who hurt us.

Aug 19, 2010

Burglar meets widow he stole ring from in Lancashire

from BBC News:

A teenage burglar who stole a widow's engagement ring and sold it has apologised to his victim saying he felt "bad for making an old lady cry".

The 18-year-old volunteered to meet the pensioner to make amends for breaking into her Lancaster home in July.

The pair met face-to-face at her home and she explained how the theft had left her feeling violated. It came only months after her husband lost a long battle with cancer.
She said she now had some "closure".

Aug 19, 2010

Praise for tabs kept on taggers

from the article by Marty Sharpe in The Dominion Post:

A man woken during the night by two youths tagging his house got up and called police while following the pair as they went on a graffiti spree in Hastings.

Aug 18, 2010

What does tranformative/restorative justice actually look like?

from the entry on the blog Prison Culture:

Whenever I talk about my work with others, I make sure to stress that it focuses on developing community-based alternatives to the traditional criminal legal system.   I add that we do this using a transformative justice approach and lens. Many have responded to me by saying: “that’s not something that I can wrap my mind around.”  This is usually followed by the questions: “What does transformative justice look like?” and  “How would it work?”   Actually I should back up to say that the first question is usually: “What about the violent and bad people?  Surely you are not advocating letting them out of prison!”

I understand the fear that people have of the so-called “unknown.”  People would rather rely on a criminal legal system that they KNOW is ineffective and unjust than to move to an approach that they view as “unproven” and perhaps even Utopian.  It provides them with a sense of safety, however fragile. Hence, the constant and persistent question: “What about the bad people?”

Aug 18, 2010

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