Marin grand jury calls for more alternative justice programs
The Marin County Civil Grand Jury is calling for broader use of "restorative justice," a law enforcement philosophy that emphasizes reconciliation over punitive retribution.
In a new report, "Restorative Justice: Its Time Has Come in Marin County," the grand jury acknowledged that the practice strikes some as "soft on crime."
Voluntary participation in restorative practices
A restorative justice facilitator shall conduct a restorative justice practice based on the principle of voluntary participation for all participants. Voluntary participation means that the participants in the restorative justice process have come to the meeting by choice.
Baltimore's oldest black cemetery finally restored, with help of inmates
....After decades of neglect, interrupted occasionally by well-meaning but ultimately fruitless cleanup efforts, the cemetery in South Baltimore was officially rededicated Monday, due in large part to the labors of an unlikely group: state prison inmates.
As part of a program to put those serving time to work on meaningful projects, more than 40 prisoners have worked on the four-year effort to transform the cemetery's 34 acres.
Study: Zero tolerance policies may have negative health implications for students
A new report based on research of three California school districts suggests that school children exposed to so called, “zero tolerance” policies may be taking a toll on their mental health and wellbeing.
For prisoners, hope and help behind bars and beyond
What has been missing in the panoply of services provided to ex-offenders is grassroots, community involvement. When people are released from prison, they have the promise of often questionable and impermanent housing. Most have no money or the security of employment. Often, they return to environments that were partially responsible for leading them to make poor choices and commit crimes.
Having faced this reality, those involved with our prison congregation have answered Russell’s question posed by Leonard Pitts, “What are we going to do to help him when he gets out?”
D.A. candidate Jackie Lacey looks to move up
....California faces a sweeping revamp of the way it delivers and administers criminal justice. Under the policy change known as realignment, counties must take on the task of incarcerating and supervising many felons who formerly went to state prison. The next district attorney of Los Angeles County will play a lead role in developing and articulating policies that will determine whether smart, cost-effective alternative sentencing practices lead to rehabilitation — or instead to dangerous criminals being released, unsupervised, into the community.
A second chance at Curt's Cafe
Curt’s Cafe, 2922 Central St., is an unlikely crossroads for the two: Trieschmann hires at-risk young adults, particularly those with criminal records, providing them with hard-to-find job training and work experience. The non-profit restaurant is one of the only adult ex-offender re-entry programs in a city that focuses most of its re-entry resources on at-risk youths.
Trieschmann said the road to opening the experimental business was far from smooth, with some neighbors concerned about the business drawing former criminals to Central Street. Still, it’s an experiment that restorative justice advocates and even Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said is worth a shot.
Crime and entertainment at Franklin High
When outrage-inducing incidents become media sensations, the authorities respond with the tools they have available. Educators point to politically popular “zero tolerance” policies.
....Police charge the thugs with whatever laws they can find — even unlawful wire tapping — and set the wheels of justice turning. There will be lawyers and hearings and plea bargains, fines and probably time behind bars.
Art helps heal crime's wounds
I admit it. Sometimes I have Philly envy. Philadelphia has a Mural Arts Program, and the community in which I live does not.
....I have been drawn to the arts as a way of reframing the challenges of crime and trauma. The arts can engage the whole person to express or understand the harm done and help harness heart and intelligence to reduce isolation. The arts can provide a way to explore what can be done to give back, and to give voice to the full range of human experience. The act of creation can restore a sense of meaning and agency to those who harmed and those who have been harmed.
Smart on crime: Why reforming criminal justice is now a Conservative issue
from the article in The Economist:
....It is not only in Britain that criminal-justice reform has become a right-wing issue. The Right on Crime initiative, a creation of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a think-tank, counts leading Republicans such as Newt Gingrich and Jeb Bush among the fans of its campaign to divert more offenders from prisons to non-custodial sentences. Half of all American states voted to reduce the use of custody last year.
There is plenty of room for relaxation in punitive America, which locks up almost one in 100 people (England and Wales put away fewer than one in 500). But similar forces are at work in both places. Fiscal pressure is mounting. Overall crime rates are falling. And stubborn reoffending rates suggest that some things are not working.
Prisons are one of them.