Restorative justice circles: Meeting the social brain needs, developing humanity
A power point from the National Association of Social Workers was recently forwarded to me. A great presentation I didn’t hear directly, by Johnathan Jordan, mindfully change. Some pieces immediately resonated and I can see how Restorative Justice Circle process promotes and leverages brain based change!
Restorative justice focuses on the victim
....There is a growing number of restorative justice programs in Montana for adults and juveniles across reservations and other jurisdictions in Montana, including community youth justice, victim-offender dialogue and victim impact panels.
In Lewis and Clark and Broadwater counties, certain first time offenders up to age 17, are offered an opportunity to instead of going before a judge, meet with the victim of their crime, his or her parents, community members and a trained facilitator. Victims are encouraged to describe the impact of the crime, offenders are held accountable, and the group decides how the offender will make amends.
The Howard League as victim of crime
The Howard League is a victim of crime. Our credit card was used to pay for stuff for someone who clearly had got hold of the details fraudulently. We think what happened was that when we had a supplier in to do some work on the building (I am not being too specific here for obvious reasons, but telling the story as a warning to others) they phoned through the details to an associate. The details were used several times and we would have picked it up at the end of the month, but the fraudster got over-confident and used it for a sum of over £1,000 and the bank noticed and put a stop to it. We are going to be reimbursed so the charity will not be out of pocket.
Let’s make restorative justice a reality in 2012
Having worked for many years in the criminal justice system, prosecuting and defending in criminal cases, I am acutely aware that the trial process does not - and cannot - address the problems faced by victims of crime.
Since my election to Parliament in 2010, I have taken an increasing interest in restorative justice and how it can play a bigger role in the criminal justice system in the UK. Restorative justice can help turn lives around for the offenders and aid the healing process among victims of crime.
Ford launches restorative justice guide for young people
from the article on Northern Ireland Executive:
Justice Minister David Ford has launched an innovative new guide to restorative justice for young people. The booklet entitled “Restorative Justice - a guide for young people” was produced by the Youth Justice Agency in collaboration with the Restorative Justice Forum (NI).
Launched during a Restorative Justice Forum seminar in Parliament Buildings, the child friendly guide uses a comic book format to explain how restorative justice can be used in a variety of settings including the youth conference.
Controversies around restorative justice
....Restorative justice may be poised for a breakthrough into public awareness. It would be a boon for budget-cutting politicians and taxpayers if only the public could buy into it. For example, in the San Francisco Bay Area it costs around $50,000 to run a juvenile offender through the justice system, not counting the cost of incarceration if there is to be any, versus about $4,500 for a restorative process that typically leaves the victim much more satisfied, the young person reintegrated into the community without even being charged with a crime and much less likely to reoffend, and many community members relieved and grateful. Multiply the criminal justice cost many times for adults locked away for years.
Learning from Rwanda
....How do you mend a country when intimates killed intimates in such tightly knitted communities? How do you do justice when thousands of people were perpetrators and where you only have so much prison space? How do you do it?
Rwanda is doing it through a largely homegrown restorative justice methodology.
Restorative justice and coercion
by Lynette Parker:
Recently, I had a brief Twitter conversation with HMP_Chaplain about restorative justice and coercion. HMP_Chaplain commented on a statement by a Sycamore Tree Project facilitator in England and Wales that “if they make RJ compulsory she will pull out." I responded in a couple of Tweets:
“Can understand...voluntariness is essential in RJ. Coercion can stand in the way of dialogue but doesn’t have to.”
“Also RJ is more than a process its a way of thinking that can inform all interactions with offenders.”
Women key in making peace
from the article by Yvette Moore:
...."The first thing that came to my mind was, ‘Wow, finally an acknowledgement that, first, we [women] are the ones that bare the greatest brunt of all of the world’s conflicts,’” Ms. [Lehmah] Gbowee said, sharing her initial reactions to the news she and two other women had received the [2011 Nobel Peace Prize].
Harper government misguided in its tough-on-crime approach
from the Globa and Mail editorial:
David Daubney, a justice-department adviser, could have gone quietly into retirement. Instead, he tried to talk some sense back into this country. Prison overcrowding will worsen and breed violence, he told The Globe's Kirk Makin in an exit interview. The tough-on-crime route has been tried and failed. The government knows what it knows, doesn't listen to evidence and is reluctant to ask for research to be undertaken.
“The policy is based on fear – fear of criminals and fear of people who are different. I do not think these harsh views are deeply held.” It's a good point. A new poll shows that 93 per cent of Canadians feel safe from crime. Why, then, spend billions of dollars to go backward?