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....
Who knew you could gain staff and lose ground, two crucial time management tips!
I’ve had more staff around me in the last 3 months, than the last 3 years! I worked solo (with the help of MANY great volunteers) or had one other person employed at SCVRJP. The last few months have included 2 staff and an intern. Great dedicated helpful people.
Yet I feel like I have lost my footing, the ground under me has slid away. I’m disorganized, missing appointments, finishing tasks just under the wire. WHAT? From the woman who was running the entire show!? It’s not like I haven’t delegated, believe me I’ve delegated. One of my coworkers pointed out she can’t complete certain project, because of the assignments I add-on each day.
Realize that despite your skills, connections, talents and abilities, if you fail at managing your tasks or your time, you can fail in general.
The fun in social justice
once again, northern voice, vancouver’s annual blogging and social media conference, was a lot of fun. two inspiring sessions were about making a difference in the world: one about doing good by darren barefoot, and another about social media and social justice by ajay masala puri and jeremy osborn. the one about social justice, which took place outside in the grass on a beautiful sunny afternoon, challenged all participants to commit to doing one thing towards social justice.
....as i was thinking about a possible commitment it occurred to me that while i do dedicate a good of amount of my time and some of my money to social justice, there are moments when the term seems a bit heavy, maybe a little too serious. that’s how i came up with the commitment of looking at the fun side of social justice. fun is important for me; fun sustains me. it makes sense, then, to invest something in the fun side of this – it’ll keep my interest in social justice going! so here are a few thoughts on the fun part of social justice.
Being a trustworthy person and a trustworthy non-profit.
I was listening to MN Public radio and caught a quick statement about trust. One of the guest speakers said that trust depended on two things, if the agency or the person was 1.) well-intended and 2.) competent about the matter at hand.
Restorative justice: A community response when bad things happen
Bad things happen. They did to Katy Hutchison on New Year’s Eve in 1997. Her husband Bob was beaten to death while checking on a party being thrown by their neighbour’s son. It happened in Squamish, a small town just north of Vancouver. A wall of silence grew up around the murder. It was four years before Ryan Aldridge admitted to having delivered the fatal blow, was convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to five years in prison.
Katy Hutchison’s response to the tragic event was not “get tough on crime”. She did not see how that approach would build a stronger community. She didn’t want to be re-victimized by the prevailing justice system. Instead, she courageously reached out to Ryan, first through a formal victim/offender reconciliation process, and since, has maintained close contact with Ryan and his family. She wanted healing, and sought it through Restorative Justice. Read Katy and Ryan’s story of forgiveness and restoration.
Clergy sexual abuse: A cry for restorative justice
by Lisa Rea:
At this hour, I would guess that some around the world are weary of the news stories of abuse that have rocked the Catholic Church in recent weeks. But to me, it's a reminder of how far we have to go to heal the injuries suffered by the victims (survivors) of abuse.
More kumbaya, fewer criminals?
Do criminals just need to talk and get some perspective? Yes, the idea seems fluffy, but it looks like some types of talk actually work. "Restorative justice"--in which convicted criminals actually meet their victims--is rapidly gaining ground in the UK.
In one case recounted by Libby Brooks in the Guardian, the victim of a violent burglary wound up shouting at his attacker, telling him "he had crushed every belief [the victim] had that [he] could handle [himself] and protect [his] family." For the attacker, "this was the moment his perspective shifted irrevocably." Despite a history of criminality, he has not reoffended in the past eight years, and is in fact working as a "restorative conference facilitator."