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.
Crossing the divide
It has often been my experience that restorative justice can span the conservative-liberal divide. Concerns for victims and for reducing the costs of imprisonment are often common to both. The concept of offenders facing up to what they have done makes intuitive sense to many. Values such as responsibility, respect and relationship are often shared along the spectrum. What we mean by these values and ideas, however, and what motivates us to embrace them, are crucial issues.
The lessons to be gleaned from the movement against indeterminate sentencing in the U.S. are instructive. Eventually both progressives and conservatives came together to replace indeterminate sentences with determinate sentences motivated by a just deserts philosophy. The resulting lengthened mandatory sentences dramatically increased the prison population. While there was some confluence of policy positions, the underlying values and motivations of the various parties were quite different. The results have been in many ways catastrophic.
Who takes ownership of a restorative justice programme?
....At the European Forum for Restorative Justice’s 10th Anniversary conference in Bilbao,Spain in June 2010, retired Concord,Massachusetts Police Chief LenWetherbee and I presented a session with the above title. I spoke about the issues that set a community/statutory agencies partnership approach to restorative practices apart from those that are managed and delivered solely by the statutory agencies. Len gave an example of such an approach, speaking about the community/statutory agencies partnership Communities for Restorative Justice (www.C4RJ.com) project in Concord and how effective a non-profit partnership of community members and police departments can be.
Making progress in restorative justice: A qualitative study
from the abstract of a thesis by John R. Bacon:
This is an exploratory study into how restorative justice (RJ) facilitators made progress before and during a RJ conference. It draws specifically on the experiences of Justice Research Consortium (JRC) facilitators who participated in one of three Home Office funded trials between 2001-4, and the only trial to employ a randomized control design based on the RJ conference model. Qualitative data was collected via focus group meetings and individual interviews.
Keeping it real restorative justice: 5 criteria for a solid program
....So, 5 criteria for you in creating a truly restorative justice program.
1. Define your criteria. Restorative justice is yes, a philosophical approach, YET specific processes are how we do Restorative Justice.... [G]et criteria for your Circle or conference. I recently saw a Circle demonstration and there was no open, no close, the talking piece was used as a way to take turns asking questions. There was no preparation put into the people attending. Have criteria, stick to those criteria....