Restorative justice, policing and the Big Society
There has been much talk about restorative justice. We’ve seen encouraging pilots and there’s talk about it not only in this country, but around the world. So why is it that something that offers such encouraging results should not have taken a greater hold in our system?
Well, I think it is because we’ve seen evolving over the last few years a criminal justice system that has been very much directed from the centre.
We’ve been through the recent era of targets and what has eloquently been described as ‘deliverology’. The idea of managing from the centre, of close direction in order to try and drive up the performance of public services. This was done for benign reasons, but we all know what the consequences were.
Victim Support chief addresses restorative justice conference
from the organization's website:
Victim Support describes itself as "the independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime in England and Wales. We were set up 35 years ago and have grown to become the oldest and largest victims' organisation in the world. Every year, we contact over 1.5 million people after a crime to offer our help."
Speaking at the Restorative Justice Approaches conference on Thursday 27 January, Javed [Khan] said: “We have for many years supported restorative justice projects up and down the country. We know that one of the greatest benefits of restorative justice is to victims of crime and that satisfaction rates among victims are particularly high when it is victim led.”
Welcoming the government’s commitments to restorative justice he added: “I want to make sure that these are more than just warm words and that restorative justice becomes a right for every victim who wants it.”
Smart on Crime: Recommendations for the Administration and Congress
from the Executive Summary by Adrienne Benson:
Embodied in Smart on Crime are five basic principles the Coalition considers foundational, which Congress, the Administration and the judiciary should always consider when contemplating improvement to the criminal justice system. These principles include:
The promise of restorative justice: New approaches for criminal justice and beyond
Reviewed by Martin Wright
It is becoming increasingly clear that the principles of restorative justice can be used, as the editors say, outside the formal criminal justice system, and this book bears witness to that. Half is about criminal justice, and half about other applications in schools and elsewhere. The contributors reflect the book’s origins among a group at Fresno Pacific University in California, but other chapters come from Bulgaria, Canada, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.
Reintroduction of the Restorative Justice in Schools Act
from Tom Cavanagh's blog:
Become an supporter of the Restorative Justice in Schools Act. Below is the letter Congressman Steve Cohen sent to his colleagues asking for support for the bill.
We encourage you to cosponsor legislation that promotes providing school personnel (teachers and counselors) with essential training that has the potential to reduce youth incarceration.
Youth justice report claims restorative justice would be more effective than courts
The government is being urged to deal with the majority of young offenders in England and Wales through restorative justice conferences rather than the courts, in a report on youth justice hearings.
The report, called Time For A New Hearing, is based on an international comparison of how young offenders are dealt with and found that restorative justice conferences are more effective than courts in reducing reoffending.
[More sensible ideas from the US!] Prison reform: A smart way for states to save money and lives
With nearly all 50 states facing budget deficits, it's time to end business as usual in state capitols and for legislators to think and act with courage and creativity.
We urge conservative legislators to lead the way in addressing an issue often considered off-limits to reform: prisons. Several states have recently shown that they can save on costs without compromising public safety by intelligently reducing their prison populations.
Governor Jerry Brown: Can he support restorative justice?
by Lisa Rea
Jerry Brown has returned to California Governor's office in 2011 having first been elected the youngest governor in the state in 1975. What's changed?
The incarceration rate has skyrocketed. In 1986 the state prison population was at 59,000. Now the state incarcerates 173, 000 inmates in its state prisons (Legislative Analyst Office, 2006). Although editorial writer Dan Morain of the Sacramento BEE speaks of Brown's close ties to the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA, the prison guard union with more members than most unions in the state) I believe Brown will not be tied to the failed policies of the past. I expect something more.
Crossing the divide
It has often been my experience that restorative justice can span the conservative-liberal divide. Concerns for victims and for reducing the costs of imprisonment are often common to both. The concept of offenders facing up to what they have done makes intuitive sense to many. Values such as responsibility, respect and relationship are often shared along the spectrum. What we mean by these values and ideas, however, and what motivates us to embrace them, are crucial issues.
The lessons to be gleaned from the movement against indeterminate sentencing in the U.S. are instructive. Eventually both progressives and conservatives came together to replace indeterminate sentences with determinate sentences motivated by a just deserts philosophy. The resulting lengthened mandatory sentences dramatically increased the prison population. While there was some confluence of policy positions, the underlying values and motivations of the various parties were quite different. The results have been in many ways catastrophic.
Restorative Justice: the case for wider adoption
from the summary of the paper by Lucian J. Hudson:
Restorative Justice (RJ) is an idea whose time has come. It is deﬁ ned as a process whereby parties with a stake in a speciﬁ c offence collectively resolve how to deal with the aftermath of the offence and its implications for the future.
RJ has been tried and tested, and it works. It is good for victims, offenders and communities. The evidence base for RJ is stronger than for that of almost any other criminal justice intervention.