Another warning about US prison policy: Justice Kennedy laments the state of prisons in California, U.S.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy criticized California sentencing policies and crowded prisons Wednesday night, calling the influence that unionized prison guards had in passing the three-strikes law "sick."
In an otherwise courtly and humorous address to the Los Angeles legal community, Kennedy expressed obvious dismay over the state of corrections and rehabilitation in the country. He said U.S. sentences are eight times longer than those issued by European courts.
Public speaking tips: Reaching everyone in your audience when speaking about restorative justice
from Kris Miner's blog:
From Seth Godin's blog:
The work you do when you spread the word or run an ad or invent a policy is likely aimed at one of these four groups.
- Strangers are customers to be, but not yet
- Critics are those that would speak ill of you, or need to be converted
- Friends are those that might have given permission, or even buy now and then
- Fans are members of your tribe, supporters and insiders
You already know the truth: can’t please all these groups at once.
As a restorative justice practitioner or advocate, you maybe asked to speak to a group, that includes all the groups mentioned above. Godin’s categories, reminded me of a recent post, not everyone views restorative justice equally.
As restorative justice practitioners, hard work needed regarding victims: Five things to do
I want to offer some lessons for people who do restorative justice. These lessons are for working with victims in either a victim-offender dialogue or a talking circle. I think its important to keep up our compassion towards victims skills. To really do our best, I have 5 things to work really hard at:
Cutting crime: The case for justice reinvestment
The British House of Common Justice Committee has recently released a report on the reinvestment of justice resources aimed at reducing crime. The following is excerpted from the Executive Summary:
We decided to undertake an inquiry into “justice reinvestment”, because of three linked issues.
First, the criminal justice system is a complex network of agencies with substantial public funding operating under increasing pressure but the different parts of the system do not seem to be pursuing the same goals or making cogent contributions to an agreed overarching purpose.
Secondly, the Government’s main answer to the current overcrowding of prisons and the predicted rise in the prison population—already at a record high—is to provide more prison places rather than to seek to address the root causes of this seemingly incessant growth. These causes include: a toxic cocktail of sensationalised or inaccurate reporting of difficult cases by the media; relatively punitive overall public opinion (compared to much of the EU); a self-defeating over-politicisation of criminal justice policy since the late 1980s and the responsiveness to all these factors of the sentencing framework and sentencers.
Thirdly, it is clear that authorities and agencies outside the criminal justice system—with relevant objectives, remits and funding—could take more effective action to reduce both the number of people entering the criminal justice system in the first place and the likelihood of re-entry after serving a sentence.
So questions arise as to whether the existing allocation of attention, energy and funding is the right one. “Justice reinvestment” approaches—which channel resources on a geographically-targeted basis to reduce the crimes which bring people into the criminal justice system and into prison in particular—offer potential solutions to these challenges.
How to run a meeting like a restorative justice talking circle
from Kris Miner's blog:
Not everyone is comfortable with Circle, so over time, I have found ways to engage bits without making people freak-out and shut down. On the same hand, I’ve gotten quite confident at running a Circle, with skeptical people. (imagine a circle of attorney’s!)
Running a meeting like a Circle, I’ve promoted the interactive meeting format to include:
Launch of Wentworth Restorative Justice Project in Durban
from the announcement on Imagine Durban:
Khulisa is an award-winning NGO dedicated to preventing crime through promoting rehabilitation, education and reconciliation.
In partnership with the South Durban Basin Area Based Management Programme of Ethekwini Municipality, Khulisa has launched an integrated pilot project aimed at bringing the concepts of restorative justice (RJ) into the Merewent community.
Khulisa helps families and communities support victims who need healing and offenders who want to make amends in order to provide support to the justice system by maximising community participation.
Volunteer statements: “every Circle is my favorite”, “I needed this Circle more than anyone here”
Once and awhile I get tired. I get tired and lonely and frustrated. I wonder why I am a workaholic and kick myself for doing this to myself. I keep repeating a cycle. Then I am in Circle and people say things that catch me off guard.
Suddenly someone is talking about surviving physical abuse as a child. As most of us look at the paper plates on the floor, because the speaker is explaining how her teachers, police officers and social workers used these values to get her safe. She expresses this and only starts to tear up at the end. No one interrupts, no rescuing comments, no affirming “thanks for sharing”. Because that is how Circle works. We tell the truth one person at a time.
The need for a new kind of justice in youth crime
As the two leading providers of restorative justice for youth in Sonoma County — Restorative Resources and RECOURSE Mediation Services — we know what works when dealing with youthful offenders, and why. The restorative justice practices used by our non-profit agencies are firmly focused on repairing harm done to people and relationships, rather than imposing a punishment disconnected from the needs of those harmed. Restorative justice gives victims a voice in how they want things to be “made right.”
The evidence shows that in communities, including school communities, restorative practices build social capital and achieve social discipline through participatory learning and decision-making. When there is wrongdoing, everyone affected by the behavior gets to play an active role in addressing the wrong and making things right. This goes far beyond punishment; it makes real, positive change possible.
Platforms for a restorative society in Northern Ireland
Reconciliation has been an important concept in building relationships and structures in Northern Ireland that lessen the harm done to people in the midst of conflict. It is also an important concept in the language of Track One, Two and Three conflict transformation strategies.
Central to reconciliation is the promotion of right relationships and the securing of agreements and structural arrangements that build a new acknowledgement and respect between those seen as ‘different others’. Such work seeks to right previous imbalances and wrongs. Important elements of that agenda in Northern Ireland include the drive for legal remedies and new laws on equality, good relations, human rights, harassment and hate crime, and the exploration of how the past is acknowledged and how victims are respected and remembered.
As a transcending idea, reconciliation continually challenges current ways of living with different and previously estranged others. However, it is a concept that many men and women have difficulty applying to their own actions. There is a tendency to see it as an activity for others in important positions, rather than as something all citizens must contribute to as part of their daily endeavours.
Revise laws to lower prison costs, keep everyone safer
Michigan has more than an economic crisis -- we have a crime crisis, too. And we won't be able to solve the overall budget shortfall without making significant cuts in the corrections budget. Our current criminal justice system is costing us over a billion dollars a year, far more than our neighboring states are spending. Yet despite this huge expense for corrections, our communities are still plagued by crime.
Here are a few troubling facts:
- Michigan's violent crime rate is higher than all other states in the Great Lakes region.
- Corrections is the third most expensive item in Michigan's budget, with only health care and education costing more.
- The Michigan Department of Corrections employs one out of every three state workers....
But we have good news....