Federal prison-overhaul plan dismissed as amateur, alarming
Canada's blueprint for overhauling federal prisons is an amateur and "alarming" document that ignores human rights, gives the false impression that crime is rising, and provides no costs for flawed policies that would flood penitentiaries with more inmates, says a new report.
The study attacks the Harper government for its speedy, wholesale adoption of the 2007 Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety that made more than 100 recommendations, based largely on the premise that prisoners don't have automatic rights; they earn them.
Resolving conflicts using traditional mechanisms in the Karamoja and Teso regions of Uganda
from the Briefing prepared by Chris Chapman and Alexander Kagaha for Minority Rights Group International:
This study is the result of intensive research and consultations with community representatives and local and national government officials in Karamoja and Teso regions of northeast Uganda.
The conclusions of the research can be summarised as follows:
Interview with Pierre Allard on Rwanda and DRC
Following are three video segments of an interview with Pierre Allard on the television programme 100 Huntley Street. Pierre Allard was formerly Chaplain General and Assistant Commissioner of Corrections Canada. Since his retirement he and his wife Judy have been living and working in Rwanda and the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo.
Handing back the conflictMartin Wright.
A thought adapted from what one police officer said at a conference yesterday:
When there is a conflict, the conventional approach is to separate the people and tell them what to do; but in the restorative approach, the police officer (or teacher, or mediator) brings them together and asks them what they will do.
Dark charges from Mahony's inner circle
by Lisa Rea.
When I read this column on the clergy abuse scandal written by Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times it was like getting an immediate migraine headache. I have followed the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church closely since the first public eruption in 2000/2001. I know I'm not alone. But my interest led me to speak out on this subject publicly because of my deep commitment to restorative justice and its great value to victims of crime and offenders as well. But my passion to do more than speak about it privately to my own circle of friends and family was because this subject mixes abuse of children with faith. Since I am a committed Christian these news stories have appalled me deeply. It has offended me as a Christian. And then there are the victims.
What are we looking for?
“Did you see remorse?”
“What are we looking for?”
“Why didn’t you ask about previous offending?”
For the last four years, I’ve volunteered as a restorative conferencing facilitator with a local community organisation. As a part of that work, I now ‘mentor’ new facilitators. Inevitably, I get questions like the ones listed above. It’s always interesting to see the focus of new volunteers as they go through pre-conferences.
Family Group Decision Making Helps Prison Inmates Reintegrate into SocietyRestorative Practices E-Forum
for 21 September by Deni Thurman-Eyer and Laura Mirsky
Family group decision making (FGDM), known in New Zealand, the UK and Europe as family group conferencing or FGC, is proving to be a beneficial restorative practice to help reintegrate prison inmates back into society. This article addresses restorative FGDM/FGC programs in prisons in Adams County, Pennsylvania, USA, and in Hungary.
Beginning in New Zealand in 1989 in the youth justice and child welfare systems, FGDM/FGC operates according to the premise that the direct involvement of a family group works better to solve a family’s issues than the efforts of professionals alone to solve those issues for people. A key ingredient of an FGDM meeting is “Family Alone Time,” when the family group is left alone, without professionals in the room, to devise plans to solve their own issues. These plans are then evaluated by professionals for legal and safety concerns.
Community Service Foundation, a model program of the IIRP, provides FGDM conferences for youth and families in Pennsylvania. (Please see www.familypower.org for links to articles about FGDM/FGC.)
It Takes a Village, a private service provider based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, provides FGDM for youth and families. Agency program manager Dewaine Finkenbinder began using FGDM with adjudicated prisoners in Adams County in 2003. Adams was the first county in the nation to utilize a cross-system approach involving both the department of children and youth services and justice agencies, said Finkenbinder.
Party's over for bonfire vandals
from Jonathan Dodd's article in Advertiser.co.uk:
TEENAGERS who trashed a Chapel-en-le-Frith landmark were given an opportunity to make amends under a new 'common sense' approach to policing.
Earlier in the summer, up to 20 teenagers were caught at the top of Eccles Pike. They had been drinking and started a large bonfire on the National Trust-owned land, using wooden supports from around memorial trees to fuel the blaze.
But rather than resorting to court action, Derbyshire Constabulary was able to deal with the incident under its new Restorative Justice scheme.
Restorative justice urged to deal with sexual crimes
The criminal justice system is not suitable for addressing most sexual crimes, the director of abuse victims’ charity One in Four has said.
Speaking at the Children At Risk in Ireland (Cari) 20th anniversary conference in Dublin, Maeve Lewis said restorative justice must be explored as a way of dealing with sex offenders.
Thinking Aloud programme on restorative justice in Northern Ireland
from the Thinking Aloud website at BBC:
What is the best way to settle a dispute, and if you are a victim of crime what is the best way to get justice? Laurie Taylor finds out about an alternative to police and courts and the conventional criminal justice system.
The idea of restorative justice is to try to find a new way to settle arguments and bring justice so that offenders and victims can carry on living side by side. Can bringing victims and culprits together to talk or making a guilty party compensate the injured one provide the answer? And can it work for all crimes, however serious? Laurie talks to Anna Eriksson and Heather Strang about the use of restorative justice in Northern Ireland. For countries with a long history of violence in their communities, can restorative justice be used to heal the wounds?