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David Daubney of Canada presented the 2011 International Prize for Restorative Justice

by Dan Van Ness

David Daubney has been awarded the 2011 International Prize for Restorative Justice in recognition of the public policy leadership he has provided in support of restorative justice. The presentation was made during the Prison Fellowship International World Convocation held in Toronto, Canada from 28 June – 2 July, 2011.

"For restorative justice to become the normal way of responding to crime, we need more than programs," said Daniel Van Ness, executive director of PFI's Centre for Justice and Reconciliation. "We also need public policy that reflects restorative principles and values so that the justice system itself becomes more restorative. With this award we recognize a man who as a legislator and an official in his country's justice ministry has helped shape restorative justice public policy in his nation and the world." 

Jul 04, 2011 , , , , , , ,

Twenty years of restorative justice in New Zealand: Reflections of a judicial participant

from the article by Judge Fred McElrea:

The following aspects of the family group conference system stand out after 20 years as being both innovative and of potential value to adult systems as well:

Jun 24, 2011 , , , , , ,

Right and proper: Conservatives and criminal justice

from the article in The Economist:

The word commonly used to describe a politician who publicly announces he wants to send fewer criminals to prison is “loser”. But back in February there was David Williams, president of Kentucky’s Senate, speaking in favour of a bill that would do just that. The bill in question would steer non-violent offenders towards drug treatment rather than jail. It is projected to save $422m over the next decade, and will invest about half those savings in improving the state’s treatment, parole and probation programmes. 

Mr Williams, who believes Kentucky “incarcerates too many people at too great a cost,” praised the bill for recognising “the possibility for forgiveness and redemption and change in someone’s life”. It passed the Republican-controlled Senate 38-0, and on May 17th Mr Williams went on to win the Republican nomination for governor.

Jun 22, 2011 , , ,

An introduction to the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program (NSRJP)

from the paper presented by Janet E. Briggs:

Restorative justice is not a particular practice or type of program, but rather a philosophy, or a set of principles.  Restorative justice principles have been emerging in communities across the world. The Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program (NSRJP), over the past decade has gained attention as a national and world-class leader through its innovative and progressive model. The Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program is not intended to replace the current criminal justice system....

Jun 21, 2011 , , ,

Judge Irene Sullivan on learning a lesson in restorative justice from teenagers

from her entry on Juvenile Justice Information Exchange:

In mid-May I traveled from my home in Florida to Evanston Township High School, just north of Chicago, to meet with students, school social workers and law enforcement officials. My intention was to talk to them about my nine years of service as a juvenile judge and the stories of the kids in court I wrote about in my book, Raised by the Courts: One Judge’s Insight into Juvenile Justice.

Boy, was I in for a surprise!

Instead of talking I was listening. Instead of teaching I was learning. Instead of being the center of attention, I was one person in a circle of 12. Instead of sharing my experiences with others, I listened while others shared some very personal and painful experiences with me. Instead of talking about guilt or innocence, crime and punishment, I found myself focused on the word “harm:” identifying the harm, acknowledging the harm and repairing the harm.

Jun 08, 2011 , , , , ,

Letter: Restorative Justice Program a valuable resource

from the letter by Conor B. Stott in Oregon Daily Emerald:

Every day at this University I am constantly discovering new opportunities and programs available to us students. Last spring, after an unfortunate incident on campus caused by my friend and me, we had the opportunity to redeem our actions through the Restorative Justice Program at the University. At the time, I knew absolutely nothing about this program, and I am sure most students are currently unaware of what restorative justice is and how it works.

The Restorative Justice Program is a group effort between Conflict Resolution Services and the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards to resolve students’ infractions against the University in a manner that caters to the needs and wishes of both parties involved.

May 16, 2011 , ,

Restorative Justice takes on West Oakland schools

from an article by Cassidy Friedman on New America Media:

From 2005 to 2009, the city of Oakland backed a restorative justice pilot project at Cole Middle School, in West Oakland, which was already slated to be shut down for low test scores. It was among the first attempts to implement restorative justice circles at a U.S. school.

By the final year, standardized test scores had risen by 74 points.

The school, which had suffered from a high turnover of teachers, retained all of its faculty.

And delinquency plummeted; suspensions fell 87 percent and expulsions dropped to zero.

May 11, 2011 , , , ,

The restorative approach in Nova Scotia: A partnership of government, communities and schools

from the article by Mary Shafer and Laura Mirsky on IIRP.org:

....There is now a significant interest across Nova Scotia to bring the restorative approach to schools. Said Pat Gorham, director of crime prevention for the Nova Scotia Department of Justice, “Our provincial government is trying to find out what the capacity might be for RJ in Nova Scotia, identifying frameworks that might be put into place for schools that want to participate. The work has largely been from the community up. All pilot programs are at the local level, with individual school administrators opting to commit to a restorative approach, supported by regional RJ agencies.”

The Tri-County Restorative Justice agency exemplifies this integration; it handles diversion of police-referred youth, and it founded Bringing Restorative Justice into Schools, the first project to develop a program using restorative approaches within schools in Nova Scotia. This program trains students throughout the province as RJ facilitators.

Apr 27, 2011 , , , , ,

Campbelltown Primary School's justice for all sees grades rise and behaviour improve

from Amy Noonan's article in Adelaide Now:

Deputy principal Graeme Shugg said the effect of restorative practices at Campbelltown was immediate. "Teachers reported change within two weeks in their classes," he said.

"We empower kids to question and take responsibility for what they've done and repair the harm and allow the victim to have a say. The bottom line is, the people involved in the problem are the best people to solve the problem." 

Suspensions dropped from 86 in 2003 to just 33 last year. In 2003, students were sent to the principal for discipline 683 times. Last year there were 76 referrals to the office.

Apr 13, 2011 , , , , ,

Can we create purely non-punitive restorative programs?

from Sylvia Clute's entry on Genuine Justice:

One reason to ask this question is because there is a growing body of evidence that shows using punishment in the form of isolation, detention or suspension to address behavioral problems in schools only aggravates other issues, such as bullying, violence, substandard academic performance, the lack of parental involvement, high staff turnover and burnout.

Meanwhile, restorative practices are proving to be an effective alternative to punitive measures. They provide an effective means of creating safe, supportive learning environments, often at far less cost than the punitive means, whether the cost is measured in terms of financial outlay, the time expended on discipline issues or the stress level experienced by those in the system. And restorative measures are proving to be an effective means of addressing the school-to-prison pipeline that has become of national concern.

But can school or other programs be created that do not eventually resort to punitive measures for those who continue to misbehave? In researching various approaches to restorative school programs, most seem to continue the blend of restorative processes and punitive measures to varying degrees.

Apr 04, 2011 , , , ,

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