Restorative justice talking circles: The simplest of questions can connect us
I came up with the “getting acquainted” question off the top of my head. I asked what winter clothing item, do you most enjoy wearing. It was the last class of the semester so about the 16th Circle for this group. I was impressed and struck by how connected we became over articles of clothing.
A student just a few seats to my right, turned up his jeans at the ankle, and talked about loving his flannel jeans. Of course I thought how I always wanted to get a pair of those. The talking piece was across the Circle, another student, made comment to his peer across the Circle ” . . . me, too” and showed the flannel lining of his jeans.
Someone else talked about loving mittens that divide your fingers on the inside. I connected with that. It was really fun a round of answers to listen to.
A recent evaluation form had the feedback that what the person liked least was “too much fluff at the begining, unnecessary”. I thought about that Circle, and I know I spent some time getting all 22 people feeling comfortable. I do feel the stages are structured to get us prepared for the tougher questions.
Why restorative justice helps us with "belonging"
from Kris Miner's blog entry:
We started a new Circle program called CSI-Circles. Controlled Substance Intervention – responding to those who have gotten citations/tickets for marijuana possession or parapernalia charges. We use Restorative Justice Circle process with booklets from the Change Company. Our community members in the Circle include people in recovery, with significant life experiences impacted by addiction and previous drug use. We focus on restorative values and the talking circle is the vehicle for impacting people.
Dec 28, 2009 Case:Drug Crimes
Two local women celebrate the circle in new book
A new book by two Princeton area women celebrates the circle as a means to honor milestones and experiences in people’s lives.
The women — Sherry Winter and Nancy McCreight — completed the softbound book, “Celebration Circles” this past summer after working on it off and on for seven years. The two will be doing a one-to-two hour book signing Dec. 12 starting at noon at Princeton Area Library. The book is not in bookstores but can be found online.
Dec 25, 2009 Other
Mercy urged for child charged in Jakarta murder
The National Commission for Child Protection on Wednesday said it was working hard to save a 10-year-old boy, suspected of having stabbed and beaten his adoptive mother to death, from serving up to 15 years in jail.
East Jakarta Police investigators have said the child, who is originally from Nias and is an orphaned survivor of the 2004 tsunami in Aceh, may face charges for violating the 2004 law on domestic violence.
Short prison sentences for young 'should be axed'
All short-term prison sentences for young adults convicted of non-violent offences should be abolished, a charity has said.
The Transition to Adulthood (T2A) Alliance made the call as it launched a report on young adults and the criminal justice system.
The report says thousands of vulnerable young adults with mental health problems, learning difficulties, drug and alcohol addictions, and backgrounds in homelessness and care, are being funnelled unnecessarily into the criminal justice system.
The T2A Alliance argues the majority could use support services in the community before they have to enter the criminal justice system and, if sentencing is appropriate, they should be given community sentences.
Better not bitter says activist Mukoko
Abducted and tortured activist Jestina Mukoko, has said that the pain and trauma she experienced in the hands of state officials last year, has left her Better and not bitter.
Speaking on December 17, 2009 at a meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Human rights forum to celebrate her City of Weimar Human Rights Award, Mukoko also director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, said it was inner strength and the knowledge that people all over the world were rallying alongside with her that kept her going.
“I believe there was a purpose in all this. It might have been a nasty experience but looking at how I now deal with people who have been tortured I have a different perspective to it.”
'Solution circle' starts healing at Boulder's Justice High
Six Justice High students on Wednesday faced one another, their families and the poor choices that landed some of them in the hospital two weeks ago.
The students, who got in trouble Dec. 2 for overdosing on prescription drugs while at school, were participating in one of Justice High's first restorative justice "solution circles."
The idea behind the circles is for students who get into trouble to discuss their behavior with their parents, peers, teachers and counselors and come up with solutions other than court-ordered punishments. Administrators at Justice High, a Boulder charter school for troubled teens, say the goal is to address problem behavior before it becomes more serious.
Restorative justice could cut 'reoffending and save €8.3m'
The government should introduce a restorative justice scheme by 2015 that is capable of handling up to 7,250 criminal cases every year, a new report has commended.
The scheme, which typically allows offenders to provide some form of reparation to victims rather than serve time in prison, could save the exchequer up to €8.3 million per year. It could also cut reoffending rates in half, according to the report to be published [17 Dec] by Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern.
Compiled by the National Commission on Restorative Justice, it recommends that courts be required to consider restorative justice as an alternative to prison for offences where sentences of up to three years in jail are normal.
Rethinking school discipline
Classroom learning is a delicate balance between teacher and student -- a balance of discipline and nurturing that shelters students from the chaos of the outside world and replaces it with structure and inspiration to help focus on building their minds. But the recently published analysis by the Associated Press on in-school disciplinary actions in Illinois reveals that the disciplinary side of education is often too heavy-handed, sweeping away not just troublemakers but potentially successful students, too. These bleak findings show that while African American students make up 20% of the average student population in the past decade, they comprise nearly half of all public school suspensions and expulsions.
In its mania for jailing people, Britain has declared trivial offences crimes
I have a foolproof scheme for cutting crime in Britain. It would slash court overcrowding, rescue legal aid, empty prisons and calm public fears. It would save billions of pounds, and all without endangering a hair on a single Briton's head. The scheme involves removing thousands of recently "invented" offences from the statute book.
This will not happen, because if there is one thing a macho politician loves, it is declaring any social problem or public disobedience a crime, and hiring more police to confront it. Constantly extending criminality enables prime ministers and home secretaries to walk tall down Main Street, pistols twirling in their fingers, and with no care for who gets hurt.