How the 2012 GOP platform tackles criminal justice
This week, during its quadrennial national convention, the Republican Party released its 2012 platform. The platform is yet another indicator of how conservative leaders are reapplying basic conservative principles to criminal justice. For example, the new platform contains language explicitly emphasizing the importance of prisoner reentry, a notable change from the 2008 platform which contained none. The new platform urges that “[p]risons should do more than punish; they should attempt to rehabilitate and institute proven prisoner reentry systems to reduce recidivism and future victimization.”
2012 party platforms on criminal justice policy (US)
from the report by the Sentencing Project:
The Washington Post recently reported that the gulf between Republicans and Democrats has never been wider. On issue after issue, the two major political parties often disagree in substantial ways. But in the area of criminal justice policy, we have seen in recent years the potential for a bipartisan consensus. A plurality of American voters say that too many people are in prison, and an overwhelming majority -- including voters across political, generational, and racial lines -- want policies that would exchange prisons for more effective alternatives. After nearly four decades of unprecedented expansion, a number of states have reduced prison capacity, even closing prisons, in recent years, thanks to innovative public policy. These advances suggest real momentum for reform.
Parent-to-parent guide: Restorative justice in Chicago Public Schools
from the booklet by the Parents of POWER-PAC:
For too many of our children, “school discipline” has meant getting suspended or expelled—starting as young as kindergarten—being arrested, even in grade school—and ending up on the streets or in jail— without an education.
We are Chicago Public School parents, from many different neighborhoods and backgrounds, raising kids of all ages. We work together in POWER-PAC, and built our “Elementary Justice Campaign: Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline” because we’ve felt at times that school discipline works against—not with—our children and families.
Restorative justice is the law
by Dan Van Ness
Heartspeak Productions is a remarkable Canadian group that describes itself as "on a continual quest to learn about & share the principles and best practices of restorative justice." It does this by creating excellent videos exploring dimensions of restoration. Fraser Community Justice Initiatives Association is a community NGO also in Canada that for 25 years has developed programs and training that help people in conflict find good resolutions.
Restorative justice and its effects on (racially disparate) punitive school discipline
from the paper by David Simpson:
....Finally, I investigated whether the implementation of Restorative Justice significantly reduced racial disproportionality in school discipline vis-à-vis African American students. In particular, I analyzed whether the disparity in black suspension percentage as compared to white suspension percentage—measured by the difference between black suspension percentage and white suspension percentage)—was reduced by a greater amount in schools that implemented Restorative Justice than in those that did not.
I confined my analysis on this point to only those schools that had white as well as black enrollment of over 20 students. I did so because otherwise small fluctuations in total suspension numbers and/or enrollment numbers would have improperly skewed my results.
The United States Peace Index
The United States Peace Index (USPI) is the first national peace index and is the only statistical analysis that offers a comprehensive nation-wide measurement of crime and its costs to all 50 states.
The index uses five key indicators to measure peace: the number of homicides, the number of violent crimes, the incarceration rate, the number of police officers and the availability of small arms.
School's disciplinary message: We want you here
The head of security at Richmond High School is Darryl Robinson. But everyone there knows him as "Coach D." When he started 15 years ago, fights broke out nonstop. Students roamed the halls. And things didn't improve much over the years.
Robinson remembers standing in front of a classroom and asking how many students had ever seen someone get killed.
"Every hand in the room shot up," he said.
Marin grand jury calls for more alternative justice programs
The Marin County Civil Grand Jury is calling for broader use of "restorative justice," a law enforcement philosophy that emphasizes reconciliation over punitive retribution.
In a new report, "Restorative Justice: Its Time Has Come in Marin County," the grand jury acknowledged that the practice strikes some as "soft on crime."
Study: Zero tolerance policies may have negative health implications for students
A new report based on research of three California school districts suggests that school children exposed to so called, “zero tolerance” policies may be taking a toll on their mental health and wellbeing.
Power of One: Restorative justice couples victims with offenders
from the article on CTV.ca:
....A woman named Marité has been taking part in the process, not by facing her sexually-abusive father, but rather, another man who committed similar acts.
She said that results have helped her cope with the damage she suffered.
"For him it was like I was his daughter," said Marité. "And I was able also to express my anger to him and that's what he wanted rather than silence from his daughter."
"I can now go forward because I'm not bound to my father anymore. I can leave him go."