Letter: Restorative Justice Program a valuable resource
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.
Restorative Justice takes on West Oakland schools
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.
The restorative approach in Nova Scotia: A partnership of government, communities and schools
....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.
Campbelltown Primary School's justice for all sees grades rise and behaviour improve
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.
Can we create purely non-punitive restorative programs?
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.
The power of penal populism in New Zealand from 1999 to 2008
This thesis explains the rise and power of penal populism in contemporary New Zealand society. It argues that the rise of penal populism can be attributed to social, economic and political changes that have taken place in New Zealand since the postwar years. These changes undermined the prevailing penalwelfare logic that had dominated policymaking in this area since 1945.
It examines the way in which ‘the public’ became more involved in the administration of penal policy from 1999 to 2008. The credibility given to a law and order referendum in 1999, which drew attention to crime victims and ‘tough on crime’ discourse, exemplified their new role. In its aftermath, greater influence was given to the public and groups speaking on its behalf.
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.