Restorative justice for schools
“Your son’s been hit in the head by another student,” the vice principal said when I answered the phone one day in 1999.
My son was 13 and in the eighth grade. The vice principal added, “The other student has been suspended.”
“Please don’t suspend him,” I asked, fearing it would make things worse.
“It’s school policy,” the vice principal responded.
Restorative justice: the evolution of an issue
....It was 2007 when I was first asked about doing an issue on restorative justice by our author, Sandra Pavelka. Although I was potentially interested, two things kept this issue from happening more quickly: First, I felt like the literature surrounding restorative justice needed to have a stronger research-base; and, second, restorative justice was a concept and approach I struggled to fully understand. There are so many types of interventions that fall under the rubric of “restorative justice” that seeing the connections was difficult for me.
Indigenous models of justice: Moving beyond tragedies
from the paper by June C. Terpstra:
….There are more than 250 Peacemakers from 110 chapters in the Navajo nation. Using the Navajo language is emphasized and Peacemaking begins with an opening traditional prayer sometimes in both Navajo and English. The Peacemaker explains the traditions from which the process emerged and the ancient teachings. There are four main questions to be posed in the Navajo peacemaking process as told to me by Roger Begaye, are these:
1. What happened? 2. Why did it happen? 3. How do we go about it -- (resolution and a better way)? 4. How do we heal?
Retaking our streets: Restorative justice in the city of St. Francis
....The fact that this mindless violence (even though there is a distorted, revenge-oriented gang rationale) is perpetrated by 14-year-old children in some cases, reminds us of futuristic predictions in novels such as “Clockwork Orange” and the like. Killing, for revenge and even for fun, is becoming embedded in the culture, an evil, systemic pall creeping through our streets and into our families and communities and settling there as an alien host. Families in this community live in fear.
"The public wants to be involved": A roundtable conversation about community and restorative justice
When participants were asked to list the goals of community engagement, six areas attracted broad support:
1. Empowering communities
While the concept of giving community members more power is a key ingredient of many initiatives, the nature of the power varies. In San Francisco’s Neighborhood Courts, community volunteers have the authority to determine guilt and can even dismiss cases while volunteers on Atlanta’s restorative justice panels can only adjust the terms of a sentence handed down by a court.
For defenders, empowerment involves education—specifically educating the public about the role of defense organizations and navigating the justice system. “Our goal is to help people understand what we do and clarify our role and to trust us,” said James Berry, of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. “We don’t feel an obligation to promote the police or prosecutors, but we do have an interest in helping people to understand what we do and how we help to balance the equation.”
Restorative justice is not enough: A new essay about school-based interventions in the carceral state
“Take her! Take her!”
It’s 9:00 A.M. on Monday, and the visibly upset kindergarten teacher screams at me from across the hall. She is holding a six-year-old by her wrist. The little girl, with a dozen pink and white barrettes framing her tear-stained face, yells, “Get off me, let me go!” The teacher pushes the student toward me. I reach out my hand, and the little girl grabs it.
“When should I bring her back?” I ask.
“NEVER,” the teacher yells. “I don’t want her! Never bring her back!”
Restorative justice in government ethics
….In an ethics proceeding, there may or not be individual victims. Possible victims include colleagues (e.g., fellow board members), subordinates (who may have been intimidated into silence or even required to participate in misconduct), and those working at companies doing or seeking special benefits from the local government (e.g., a victim of pay to play or losing contractors).
And, of course, there is the community, which for government ethics purposes is considered the principal victim, because it is the community whose trust has been undermined and whose tax money has been wasted on a no-bid contract or a grant to a family member. Ethical misconduct also affects a community's reputation, to itself and to the outside world.
The author of Colorado's restorative justice program is going back for a rewrite.
First elected in 2010, state Rep. Pete Lee came to the Legislature at a disadvantage, as a Democrat in a Republican-controlled House. Despite this, his bill to institute restorative justice statewide — a practice in which an offender and his or her victim meet for therapeutic purposes — passed unanimously.
While that was a highlight for the freshman representative, Republican House Minority Leader Mark Waller says the bill passed only because of Republicans' willingness to compromise.
Can forgiveness play a role in criminal justice?
….Baliga laid out the ground rules: Campbell would read the charges and summarize the police and sheriff’s reports; next the Grosmaires would speak; then Conor; then the McBrides; and finally Foley, representing the community. No one was to interrupt. Baliga showed a picture of Ann, sticking out her tongue as she looks at the camera. If her parents heard anything Ann wouldn’t like, they would hold up the picture to silence the offending party. Everyone seemed to feel the weight of what was happening. “You could feel her there,” Conor told me.
Repairing circles: Chicago’s restorative justice community intercepts youth funneled through ‘School-to-Prison Pipeline’
….Sophia Hall, a Circuit Court Judge in Cook County, which covers Chicago, convenes a quarterly citywide restorative justice committee meeting that helps all manner of social workers specializing in faith-based, mental health and education services to network. One idea for expanding the reach of restorative justice practices in Chicago is to train organizations already providing social services throughout the city.