Oral language competence and restorative justice processes: Refining preparation and the measurement of conference outcomes
from the paper by Hennessey Hayes and Pamela Snow:
Restorative justice conferencing for young offenders is a legislated response to youth offending, which has been in place in all Australian states and territories for nearly two decades. Restorative justice conferences are meetings between young offenders, their victims and supporters to discuss the offence, its impact and what the young person can do to repair harms caused by the offending behaviour. There is now a substantial body of research that has examined the impact restorative justice processes have on participants (eg how young offenders and victims judge the process). Results are largely positive, showing that participants view restorative justice processes as fair and they are satisfied with outcomes. Given the highly conversational nature of restorative justice conferencing processes however, this paper reviews research on oral language competence and youth offending. It raises questions about the need to refine preparatory work with young offenders and victims, to better understand young offenders’ capacities to effectively communicate in conference processes. It suggests that improved preparation (where language impairments in young offenders are identified and addressed) will lead to better outcomes for young offenders and victims.
Restorative Justice listening . . . to bare witness
from the blog article by Kris Miner:
That is an intentional typo. I’m going to try to explain the kind of listening that works best in Restorative Justice Peacemaking Circles. Not listening to respond, not active listening so you can reframe and respond. The kind of listening that is free of judgement. Listening that could be called ‘bearing witness’ to another person. What does to bear witness mean?
Real-life stories: Property damage
Central Virginia Restorative Justice provides the following vignette of restorative conference in a property damage case as one way of explaining restorative justice.
A young teenager sits at a round table in our office alongside his mother, his little brother, and Restorative Justice staff members. The room is quiet as he stares intently into the light grey surface of the table, searching for an explanation for why he and some friends had spent an evening throwing large rocks at cars from a hiding spot beside a busy road. This young man isn’t deliberating over his words because he hopes to charm the staff with the answer he thinks they want to hear, and he certainly isn’t putting such energy into a bored shrug and an “I dunno.”
People are not programs
from the blog article by Hal Pepinsky:
...From victim-offender mediation trainings and practice, I learned that regardless of formal structure and training, people will apply their underlying habits and perspective as mediators to doing “restorative justice.” Many advocates and practitioners of this model of responding to conflict in practice share my observation that in practice, many mediators concentrate on following the detailed letter of what to say and do, as they have been instructed to do, and in so doing, acts more like judges or arbitrators who interpret and implicitly tell parties what is what, what they need to do, and have a fixed notion going into mediation as to terms of an appropriate agreement. One prime example is requiring “offenders” explicitly to apologize to “victims.” Another example, one that has even formally been introduced into some theories and practices of “restoration,” is the belief that “offenders” must be “shamed” into overt remorse for their actions, and that a good agreement requires that “offenders” somehow “right the wrongs” they have done, both for their sakes, and for the sake of “repairing the harm” to meet “victims’” needs.
Circle with diverse members, harmed, harmer and community role models.
from the blog article by Kris Miner:
What a fortunate place I have, having kept 1,000′s of Circles in a range of contexts. I’ve also been fortunate to train a few hundred in the process, allowing me to hear stories back on what worked well, and what was a lesson.
It is soo important that Circles have a diverse mix of perspectives. This takes time, in training youth or community volunteers about the dynamics of participating in Circle. However, by training others, you yourself will be learning more about the fundamental belief systems that make Circles work.
Video: How parents can use restorative questions
This short video originally posted on the Restorative Works Learning Network includes parents and young people discussing the use of restorative practices in the school setting and how the restorative questions allow children to stop and think about their actions. The video also talks about how these use of these questions in the home can transform the response to conflicts and activities in the home in a way that deescalates and allows children and youth develop their own thought processes.
Living the R’s of Restorative Justice Respect, Relationship, Responsibility.
From the blog article by Kris Miner:
...Respect is deeper than just not rolling your eyes, or reacting negatively to someone else. It is holding, really holding that honor and recognition of equal dignity and worth in another human being. In Restorative Justice we ask people to hold that deep respect, even for those that have caused us pain and harm. I try to check myself in these concepts. ”Be the message” and “live the prayer”. Holding respect that means “honoring the dignity and worth” of each and every person.
Everyone has a story
I find training to be one of the best parts of my job. I enjoy watching people grasp the concepts of restorative justice and how to apply them in different contexts. Occasionally, people share personal stories that make for a much more powerful training experience.
How key elements of a Restorative Justice Peacemaking Circle create more than conversation.
From the article by Kris Miner on Restorative Justice and Circles:
Circles are so simple, yet so complex. I’ve been told I make it look easy, that ease comes from a deep committment to honor the process and the key elements of Restorative Justice Circles. Here are a few of the elements and how utilizing them impacts the process, creating a deeper container a richer experience, and has people quickly moving to a place of emotional safety.
Consistency and proportionality in victim-offender mediation agreements
from the article by Caryn Saxon on Mediate.com:
As restorative victim offender mediation programs continue to gain ground within the criminal justice system, more community organizations committed to restorative justice values and initiatives are collaborating with traditional justice agencies and offices. While these collaborations are mutually beneficial and socially transformative, inevitable tensions emerge when restorative and traditional models of justice engage one another within a community. In this paper, we will examine one example of this – the question of consistency and proportionality in our response to offenders and crime – and explore ways in which bilateral (restorative) and unilateral (traditional) methods of resolution can amend this apparent conflict and remain collaborative partners in effectively bringing justice to their communities and its members responsibly and safely.