I’m not into remorse
Lots of people will ask me about offenders feeling remorse when they go through a restorative conference. Trainee facilitators will ask whether or not I thought a client showed remorse during a pre-conference. People curious about the process will ask if those who have committed crime actually show remorse. The most difficult conversations occur when I talk to a victim of crime about participating. They may ask if the offender has shown remorse in my meetings with him/her.
Victims’ rights and restorative justice: Is there a common ground?
Last week my column on the resentencing of juveniles who had received life without parole drew a comment from the National Organization of Victims of Juvenile Lifers (NOVJL). The commenter had a legal argument in opposition to my own view, but more striking, at least to me, was the sentence that asked how I am going to, “support, inform, and not re-traumatize the devastated victims’ families left behind in these horrible crimes.”
Justice? What about understanding?
Scrolling through RSS feeds I saw a link for, “After driving on sidewalk to pass school bus, woman must wear ‘idiot’ sign.” I admit clicking the link to see what it was about. The first line quotes someone as declaring, “Justice has been served!” before going into how a woman had driven on a sidewalk to get around a parked school bus with children on it. The penalty was to stand near the scene of the incident wearing a sign that says, “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid the school bus.” She will also pay a $250 fine.
A need to talk
“He never talked to us and we were friends.”
I recently heard this statement several times from a couple whose teenage son was killed in a vehicular accident. The “he” they referred to was the driver of the vehicle who had been their neighbour at the time. Throughout the hour long preconference, they continually repeated their hurt and disappointment that the offender had not offered condolences or talked to them since the accident. That lack of communication just seemed to weigh on this couple as they struggled with their grief.
Isle of Man criminal justice system 'to reach 21st Century'
from the article on BBC News:
Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson said "languishing in prison cells" was not a good way for inmates to "pay their debt to society".
....One of the key areas under scrutiny is dealing with offenders after they have served their jail term.
"We already have community service but we could do more things around restorative justice, actually putting back what you have done wrong rather than low level beach cleans for example, which is what we have now," continued Mr Watterson.
Legislation introducing restorative justice for victims of adult offenders in England and Wales announced
from Lizzie Nelson:
New legislation for restorative justice with adult offenders and their victims will be introduced through an amendment to the Crime and Courts Bill.
The new clauses will allow the Courts to defer at the pre-sentence stage in order for the victim and offender to be offered restorative justice at the earliest opportunity. This comes as part of the Government’s response to the Punishment and Reform; effective community sentences consultation, published today.
Center for Restorative Activism
Here are some basic principles that help to frame what restorative activism is about:
The historical moment calls on us to identify and focus on root causes. I believe the historical moment boils down to a choice between continuation with the life-denying worldview based on separateness, and a life affirming worldview based on the direct experience of interrelatedness. The belief in separateness can be singled out as a root cause of the crises we face and this shows us what we are really up against.
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.
Former Norwich police chief to lead Bangladeshi delegation in lessons on restorative justice
A former Norwich police chief will show a high-powered delegation from Bangladesh how restorative justice can be used to help cut crime without people having to be locked up.
....He said: “I’m part of a programme looking to reduce the overcrowded prisons in Bangladesh. One of their biggest problems is the inefficiency of their criminal justice system. It can take up to eight years for something to come to trial and the likelihood is defendants will spend most of their time remanded in custody. It will be their second visit to Norfolk to look at restorative justice and its something they’re really keen on.”
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."