Blogging the Non-Adversarial Justice Conference
It is finally here – the first day of the sessions of the Non-Adversarial Justice: Implications for the Legal System and Society conference in Melbourne, Australia. After well over a year of work and planning for the conference we will see how it all turns out. It is exciting – seeing old friends from around the world, meeting new ones.
....Below I give some thoughts and highlights from the first day of the conference. I cannot hope to be comprehensive. Some of the papers will be published by Monash University Law Review next year and will thereby be more easily accessible.
Local program helps youth offenders repair harm done in communities
The Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice Partnership offers first-time youth offenders an alternative to going to court through participation in a restorative conference.
The program accepts youth ages 10 or older who live or commit a crime in the 55406 zip code. Their typical crimes include trespassing, graffiti, shoplifting and fifth-degree assaults.
Community justice alternative to sit-lie proposed
from the article on SF Appeal:
A San Francisco supervisor today introduced alternative legislation to a proposed, controversial sit-lie ordinance that would be based on a community justice solutions and not simply police enforcement.
Board president David Chiu said the ordinance he's proposing would be "a neighborhood-based community justice model" that could serve as an alternative or complement to legislation offered by Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Newsom's ordinance, supported by Police Chief George Gascon, would make it unlawful to sit or lie on a public sidewalk between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Religion, conflict & peacebuilding: An introductory programming guide
from the introduction to the toolkit by USAID:
Connecting religion and violent conflict is easy to do. Many of the world’s violent outbreaks, both present and past, are couched in religious terms, ranging from the 1st century Jewish-Roman War, to the 11th century Crusades, to 17th century Thirty Years War to the 20th century Irish civil war to contemporary conflicts in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Iraq, and Israel/West Bank/Gaza.
Connecting religion and peacebuilding is equally easy to do. Human history includes many examples where the religiously motivated acted in extraordinary ways to bridge divides, promote reconciliation, or advocate peaceful coexistence. It thus becomes clear that understanding the dynamics of conflict—both the sources of discord and the forces of resilience—requires an understanding of the connections between conflict, religion and peacebuilding. And yet sensitivities and uncertainties surrounding the mere mention of religion frequently stand in the way of that understanding.
Just care: Restorative justice approaches to working with children in public care.
More and more schools are turning to restorative methods,` often helped by Belinda Hopkins’s previous book Just schools. Now she has applied the same principles to meeting the needs of the troubled and troublesome children who are looked after in state institutions. The ethos is similar, and the approach is spelt out clearly for those who do not have previous knowledge of it, with numerous diagrams and a good index. The examples are chosen to reflect the needs of the staff in children’s homes; others such as youth workers and foster parents could also find this book helpful.
On the efficacy of victim-offender-mediation in cases of partnership violence in Austria, or: Men don’t get better, but women get stronger: Is it still true? Outcomes of an empirical study
from the study by Christa Pelikan:
Put in a nutshell, the core finding of this study reads thus: The efficacy of VOM in cases partnership violence is to a large part due to the empowerment of the women victims, but partly, albeit to a smaller percentage, also due to an inner change, to insight and following from that a change of behaviour on the side of the male perpetrators. These achievements cannot be understood except as part of a comprehensive societal change – a change of collective mentalities, or in other words: change of expectations1 regarding the use of violence in intimate partnerships.
A new commission for restorative justice to deal with difficult past practices of abuse and violence in Sri Lanka
The communiqué from the Presidential Media Unit announcing a probe into the violations of internationally accepted norms of conduct has incorporated several new words and phrases which are not yet familiar terms in the political discourse in Sri Lanka. A few such words and phrases are: the need for restorative justice; a probe of violations of internationally accepted norms of conduct; no recurrence of such tragic conflict in the future; institutional, administrative and welfare measures already taken in the post conflict phase and which should be further taken in order to effect reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation; legislative and administrative measures that may be necessary to prevent such situations in the future; assessing the lessons learned from the recent conflict phase; identification of any persons or groups responsible for such acts, (and) payment of compensation for victims.
For a long period the government took up the position of burying the past as the best policy to be used in order to avoid the surfacing of the unhealed wounds. However, such a view, which has been taken in other places after the country has faced mass atrocities has not been an enduring policy. It simply becomes necessary to deal with the past. The only issue is how daringly such a task will be faced. This of course depends on the political will of the country's leaders and the civil society leaders of the time. If the country is blest with an enlightened leadership politically as well as other areas of intellectual life it becomes possible to take far reaching actions in dealing with past atrocities and violence and violations of human rights.
Proposed "three strikes" legislation in New Zealand
In recent months, the three strikes legislation has created concern across the political and ideological spectrum. The Maxim Institute, sponsored a speaking tour by Professor Warren Brookbanks and Senior Lecturer Richard Ekins of Auckland University. They also published an excellent report setting out the facts about the three strikes legislation.
....Brookbanks and Ekins report “Criminal Injustice and the Three Strikes Law” considers the legislation is both wrong and unjust for the following reasons:
New Items in the RJ Online Database
Abstracts added to the RJ Online research database over the last week covered several topics including multicultural issues, school discipline, and sexual assault.
Trauma care in April
from the Prison Fellowship Rwanda blog:
The month of April is a very difficult time for most Rwandans. April 7, 2010 marks the sixteenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, where over one million Rwandans were killed in just under 100 days.
Sixteen years after the genocide is not a long time, and memories of the pain and loss are still raw and fresh in the minds of thousands of Rwandans. Many Rwandan survivors suffer from trauma and traumatic episodes during the period of April as they remember the horrific crimes experienced against them.