Community justice: Not to you or for you, but with you
by Christa Pierpont. This is a selection of an article from a special online complement to the Summer 2008 issue of ACResolution, Vol 7, Issue 4. The Association for Conflict Resolution has given permission for it to be used on RJOnline. The complete article is attached.
....The “magic” of restorative practices comes from a principled belief that when there is a breach in relationships, people can re-story their lives (often in gifted ways), given an active and supported responsibility to do so. It is clear from the research report, Restorative Justice: The Evidence, (Lawrence W. Sherman and Heather Strang, Smith Institute, 2007) that individuals can transcend large and small wrongs in a highly satisfactory way with improved long-term consequences when restorative practices are used. Our next question was: Could this opportunity be expanded from individuals to a wider sense of cultural harms?
In particular, could restorative processes begin to address underlying racial anger and fears in our region without exacerbating negative economic realities? These questions grew out of dynamics we were discovering as we explored the history of public school education in Virginia. When the RCF studied school disciplinary statistics for public schools, we found a significantly higher rate of disciplinary action for low-income and minority youth. Efforts are now being made to reduce out-of-classroom placements and to transition to more restorative disciplinary practices, but it will take decades and funding to re-build skills for individuals who have given up on the public school system.
The odds are against ex-offenders
I had been told that he was a Baptist preacher and had worked as a prison chaplain in the Texas Department of Corrections for more than 30 years. When he walked into the restaurant to meet me for lunch he fit the stereotype one might expect. Wavy hair combed straight back, a western-style jacket and boots. When lunch was served he asked that we bless our food.
But as soon as he began to talk about the plight of prisoners and ex-offenders any preconceived stereotypes quickly shattered. For the next hour he spoke quietly but passionately about the desperate circumstances of individuals who had been released from prison, the inhumanity of the prison system, the apathy and cruelty of society and misguided public policies.
Whose side are you on?
by Lisa Rea
Many thoughts run through my mind when I consider the work I have done over many years in the restorative justice field. I often say when I am speaking publicly on the subject that my understanding of it and how I speak about it has changed since the early ‘90s. I think of some seminal moments that have had an effect on my thinking about justice and justice reform. I've been lucky enough to have a diverse set of experiences in this field. Perhaps, it's because I'm drawn to a deeper understanding of the work. I think that is true for many in this field. My experience has not been one-sided. That is I have worked on "both sides of the aisle," if you will, working on issues from the victim's side but also from the offender’s side as well.
Nov 18, 2009 Correspondent:Lisa Rea
How does healing happen?
Colleague Frank Rogers will then give a presentation on “Restorative Justice.” In this presentation Frank will talk about the “Victim’s Journey” and the nature of forgiveness. One of the things that is so helpful in this presenation is something called ”The Misconceptions of Forgiveness.” Here’s the ten common misconceptions:
Restorative justice: From principles to practice
Restorative justice is not only a practice it’s a philosophy. A school is working within a restorative justice framework when the primary focus is on relationship building: student-to-student; adult-to-student; and adult-to-adult. A whole school model of restorative justice promotes a continuum of practices that are used like tools for different situations. Although restorative justice practices take different forms like, for example, mini-conferences, peer mediation, and talking circles they are similar insomuch as they use restorative communication as the norm. These include: (1) speaking calmly, (2) speaking respectfully, (3) using simple, straightforward language, (4) being sensitive to cultural differences, and (5) using the language of restoration with everyone.
Stop bullying now
Attending the Law School’s conference on bullying yesterday took me back vividly to the one and only time I was bullied. It only lasted about 24 hours, but it made such an impact on me that I’ll remember it always.
When I was in sixth grade, our class bully threatened to kill me because I beat him out for the basketball team. I was traumatized, because he had flunked two times and was physically superior to everyone in my class.
Interview with the director and cast of “Frozen”
Right now cast and crew are hard at work on the demanding task of bringing Bryony Lavery’s hard-hitting drama Frozen to life. The play is set to premier on December 3rd and run through the 12th of the month. It is a superb play about violent crime, emotional paralysis and the power and scope of forgiveness. Recently Shayne Dukevitch had the chance to ask Director Stephanie Sandberg and principle cast members Kitty Carpenter, Ralph Lister and Rebecca Monterusso some questions about the process of bringing this challenging work to life.
Restorative justice: A farfetched idea for the Caribbean?
Recent years have found the Caribbean embroiled in the challenges of drug trafficking, money laundering, murder, rape, robbery and crimes of all sorts. Gang warfare in Jamaica and Trinidad have resulted in appalling loss of lives, damage to property and devastated the communities involved.
Guyana also experienced the murder of a large number of persons in the wasting by gunmen of the Kaieteur News press men, the Lusignan and Bartica massacres and numerous other murders that have remained unsolved.
Some of these crimes have been clearly linked to the drug trade while others seem to have been committed in what has become the ordinary run of criminal activities; since as in the words of Guyana’s poet laureate Martin Carter “Men murder men as men must murder men”.
The purpose of ‘kooky’ in restorative justice circles
People that participate in Circles with me, become really honest about what they thought at first. This honest testimony about what people thought about a Circle at first, and what they think now is an endorsement for the process.
The most recent description like this used the term ” kooky“. It’s been mentioned that they seemed wierd. One advocate says that when I first described it he thought it was for little kids. Now he tells people how effective the Circle is. He participates strongly and completely in every Circle we have done together, from college classes, to residential treatment programs, half-way houses and underage consumption panels.
Radovan Karadzic, the leader of wartime Bosnian Serbs, was a no show
today at the opening of his trial at the International Criminal
Tribunal on Yugoslavia. He's planning to defend himself against eleven
counts of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other
The reason for his no-show? One of his legal advisors told the BBC that from the scope of the trial - thought to include 1.2 million pages of evidence, numerous crime scenes and hundreds of witness - it was understandable why Mr Karadzic, who is not a trained lawyer, had stayed away.
Nov 13, 2009 National Reconciliation