In the society, community and family of Restorative Justice, 3rd National Conference 2011
I have attended 3 of the 3 National Restorative Justice Conferences. I am typing this blog from the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel in Raleigh, host of the most recent meeting. I stayed tonight, the conference ended at noon. Instead of being surrounded by familiar faces, and at the very least, people in orange lanyards, I am here alone. I am feeling lost in a mystery of something much bigger than myself. This is a feeling that only being alone, without lonliness can provide.
My adventure began by picking up Kay Pranis, and traveling out of Minneapolis together. I love Kay, she really embodies the spirt and essence of a restorative justice circle practitioner. We were joined at the gate by Mark Umbriet, and I sat speechless, as the conversation included comparisions of criminal justice reforms, via restorative justice and health care, plant care, food systems and health. I was practically tongue tied as my thoughts drifted from the conversation to the the experience of sitting with these two pioneeers of this movement. They so very humbly, chatted with me about these issues.
7 steps to stopping violence in relationships
A seven-step tutorial for people involved in relationship conflicts is available online, free of charge, from the Conflict Resolution Information Source. Intended for educators and instructors, the course was designed by the Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Victim's daughter meets IRA bomber: An interview with Jo Berry
On October 12, 1984 an IRA bomb planted by Patrick Magee demolished Brighton’s Grand Hotel in Brighton killing 5 people including Sir Anthony Berry, MP for Southgate and a member of the Thatcher government. The bomb hit on the last day of the conservative party conference held at the hotel. The IRA bomber Magee was sentenced to 35 years in prison. He was released after 14 years under the negotiated Good Friday agreement.
The following is from an interview Lisa Rea conducted with Jo Berry, daughter of Sir Anthony Berry. She did this interview from her home in Macclesfield UK. Jo Berry chose to meet with Pat Magee in November 2000. Today the two work together on many initiatives including addressing peace conferences, giving workshops in prisons, and speaking at universities.
Q. How did the meeting(s) happen? What was the process? Were you, and Pat, adequately prepared to meet? Walk us through what happened.
Working with relationships, be mindful of your own sense of justice.
....An example of justification in a case:
Both parties charged with disorderly conduct. Two young women fought. One threw something at the other, and that “started” it. Further back in time, they were friends, friend A & B. Friend A’s boyfriend cheated on her with Friend B. The friendship ended, the judgements did not, the disagreement escalated, the fight, the court, then restorative justice. When processing the situation restoratively: 1) acknowledge you caused the harm 2) understand from someone elses point of view 3) recognize where you had a choice 4) make amends and 5) take action to change.
Justice program rooted in community, not courts
When the South Dakota Supreme Court decided that the court system should take a restorative approach to dealing with crime, it expanded the system's approach from one that focused solely on the offender to one that considered consequences for victims, Horner said.
Until victim's rights legislation was on the books, victims were often pushed into the background.
Since [the Center for Restorative Justice's] creation, the main goal has been to keep the center community-based, rooted with the community and not the court system, Horner said.
"We've worked hard to keep it separate but connected to the court system," Horner said.
I’ve hit my emotional limit
As a restorative conferencing facilitator, I often receive the brunt of a lot of strong emotions. This happens most when I’m making first contacts with individuals or in the preconference interviews. I can’t count the number of times I’ve called a victim to introduce the programme to receive a twenty minute monologue covering everything from the pain of the crime to their frustrations with the criminal justice systems to questions about how to move ahead.
These emotions are very real and the person expressing them needs to be able to do that. Just recently, I was the recipient of such emotion from the daughter of a crime victim. At one point she apologised for dumping her anger and frustration on me as I was only doing my job. I quickly responded that it was okay, that was part of my job. And, quite frankly, it is a part of the work. Even in what might seem to us to be “minor” crimes; we can encounter very strong emotions from those we are serving. This makes facilitator self-care very important.
Redeeming the Wounded: New book features new vision for victims’ justice
from the press release at PRWeb.com:
In 2008 approximately 16,262 people were murdered in the U.S., leaving family and friends to grieve the loss. (Source: NCVRW Resource Guide) Many faith-based organizations want to help but do not know how. Due to budget cuts, funding for rehabilitation and educational, faith-based counseling programs for prisoners and crime victims has suffered in almost every locality. A new way to handle these problems is discussed in Redeeming the Wounded by Rev. Dr. B. Bruce Cook (www.xulonpress.com and www.cvaconline.org under “crime victim resources”). Cook’s new vision of victim justice involves a concept of fair and equal treatment for crime victims and prisoners based on principles of restorative justice and restitution.
....Cook’s call to action includes:
Laura's Law: Remembering the victims of violence
by Lisa Rea
Considering gun related violence and its impact on the victims, I remember the courageous work of Amanda and Nick Wilcox in Northern California in the name of their daughter, Laura. A recent press piece describes what they have done to fight violence since the shooting death of their daughter at the hands of Scott Thorpe on January 10, 2001.
No script for the journey
The Virginia Center for Restorative Justice
How does a community establish a restorative justice program? It happens at the local level when committed individuals decide to make it happen. Take the Virginia Center for Restorative Justice (VCRJ), for example, a nonprofit established late last year in Richmond, Virginia.
VCRJ was founded by its Executive Director, Judy Clarke, a woman whose commitment to restorative justice is grounded in her abiding faith in God and in the fundamental goodness of humanity. But this journey began for Judy many years ago when she visited the Richmond City Jail for a day with a group of business leaders who were charged with finding a solution to the jail’s problems.