Six boys, one cop, and the road to restorative justice
from the article by Molly Rowan Leach:
It’s a warm summer night in Longmont, Colorado, a vibrant midsized city in the Rocky Mountains. On a dare, six young men aged between ten and thirteen years plan to break into a giant chemical processing plant. High levels of alcohol and testosterone, peer pressure and a moonless night propel the group towards the locked gates of the factory, and they break in.
Across town at the Police Department, Officer Greg Ruprecht is about to embark on night patrol. A former Army Captain and top of his class at the Police Academy, Ruprecht believes his job is to arrest everyone who commits a crime and throw away the key. Justice means punishment: an eye for an eye, no questions asked. You do something bad and you get what you deserve. There’s a clear line to walk. But what occurred at the chemical plant that night changed him forever by awakening a very different sensibility: instead of an instrument of vengeance, justice requires that we work to restore all those who have been injured by a crime.
Approaching juvenile crime head on
From the article by Leila day:
When people get into trouble with the law, they normally don’t have a chance to have a conversation with their victims. To explain what happened. Hear about the damage they caused. Say they’re sorry. But there’s a growing trend to try and make that happen, so both parties can move on.
Restorative Justice brings together the accused, the victim, supportive parties, and authorities. All at the same table in a safe space. It’s an old idea and it’s international. In fact, in New Zealand, where it was originally used by indigenous Maoris, it's a mandatory part of the criminal justice system. Here, in the U.S, these community conferences are increasingly being used in prisons, schools and as an alternative to juvenile detention.
Restorative justice is on the rise
From the article by Molly Rowan Leach at Huff Post Crime:
Restorative Justice is on the rise exponentially in the United States. As millions continue to experience and witness a collective 'justice' that is tainted by racial discrimination, by billions in profit, by the warehousing of our meek, a school-to-prison pipeline and by the practices of expecting punishment and isolation for all involved when crime occurs to actually function as rehabilitative, there is a form in the air, in the political, in the grassroots, in the hearts of the people, that offers a viable life-ring out of this deluge.
A Philadelphia School's Big Bet on Nonviolence
from the article by Jeff Deeney in The Atlantic:
Last year when American Paradigm Schools took over Philadelphia's infamous, failing John Paul Jones Middle School, they did something a lot of people would find inconceivable. The school was known as "Jones Jail" for its reputation of violence and disorder, and because the building physically resembled a youth correctional facility. Situated in the Kensington section of the city, it drew students from the heart of a desperately poor hub of injection drug users and street level prostitution where gun violence rates are off the charts. But rather than beef up the already heavy security to ensure safety and restore order, American Paradigm stripped it away. During renovations, they removed the metal detectors and barred windows.
The police predicted chaos. But instead, new numbers seem to show that in a single year, the number of serious incidents fell by 90%.
Vision 21: Transforming victim services. Final report
from the report released by the Office for Victims of Crime:
...The discussions that formed the basis for Vision 21 demonstrated that only a truly comprehensive and far-reaching approach would achieve the vast changes needed to move the field forward. Stakeholders saw that a holistic approach to victims’ needs is essential but will require unprecedented collaboration among service providers, an ongoing challenge for the field.
Restorative Justice in Belfast — a different way to right wrongs
From the article by Abigail Curtis in Bangor Daily News:
The dimly lit gathering space of the Unitarian Universalist Church made a cool setting last month for an event that promised to get a little hot under the collar.
The incidents that led up to the circle of earnest people wrestling with ideas of justice and punishment at the church began last August, when three young men from Belfast got drunk and engaged in a destructive, late-night vandalism spree. They broke windows at MacLeod Furniture, the Belfast Dance Studio and the city park snack stand, and left broken glass in City Park Pool.
Victim makes teen car prowlers face up to crime spree
from the article by Christine Clarridge in The Seattle Times:
When Eliza Webb found a stranger’s cellphone inside her ransacked car last month, it didn’t take a lot of sleuthing to determine two things: one, the cellphone probably belonged to the person who’d prowled her car; and two, the culprit was likely a teen.
Webb, who works with high-school students and is married to a man who has paid dearly for a youthful indiscretion, paused before summoning police.
“I think bringing the police and courts into something like this can have long-term, devastating consequences for kids,” said Webb, 29, of West Seattle.
Fairfax program focuses on justice and discipline
from the article by Susan R. Paisner in the Fairfax Times.com:
Restorative justice could be considered a first cousin once removed of the modern-day interpretation of the Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm.
For restorative justice focuses on repairing harm that has been done – and preventing future harm.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police and restorative justice in British Columbia: Exploring the potential
From the Master's dissertation by Terri Kalaski:
This paper will explore what influences a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (hereafter ‘RCMP’) member in British Columbia (hereafter ‘BC’) to refer a file to restorative justice (hereafter ´RJ´).According to the Canadian Inventory of RJ Programs there are RJ programs for youths and adults available in every province and territory in Canada. While this information reveals RJ programs are present throughout Canada it is not clear how or if these programs are utilized by RCMP or in what context. We know that RJ was identified as a national strategic priority for the RCMP in 1997 and removed from the priority list in 2002 although questions remain as to how or if the change in priority has impacted the use of RJ within the RCMP. There is no national RCMP policy regarding the use of RJ. Given the scope of the RCMP’s policing agreements across Canada, it is reasonable to assume that acceptance of RJ practice by the RCMP would provide a strong impetus for the remainder of policing agencies in Canada to embrace RJ as a legitimate element of the justice system.
‘Restorative justice’ brings closure to Hopkins High School racial insensitivity dispute
From the article in the Golden Valley Patch:
Prosecutors have dropped misdemeanor charges against two Hopkins High School students who protested alleged racial insensitivity at the school, and the district has overturned the students’ suspensions, according to a joint statement from the school district and the students' attorney.
The actions follow a “restorative justice” process initiated to bring closure to a February confrontation between black students and school officials that led to a student walkout in May.