Forgiving my daughter's killer
One of the two 15-year-old boys who killed my 26-year-old daughter Cathy was released from prison last month after serving 23 years of a 54-year sentence. Gary Brown was released from prison one week before the Supreme Court decided in Graham v. Florida to end the practice of sentencing juveniles to life without parole for crimes other than murder.
Healing in a hard place
How do people heal from violent crime? How do they mend after a rape or assault, or after losing a loved one to murder? How do they get over the grief, anger and gnawing sense that no matter what happens, justice will never be served?
For Patricia Dahlgren, whose mother, June Duncan, was abducted and strangled in December 1995, the answer came from an unusual source: the man who killed her mother.
What's next for Minnesota's ex-cons?
What does it really take to keep a person from going back to prison? Let's see. Resources that work, perhaps faith and prayers, a change in peers or environment, and, most important of all, the willingness and commitment of the offender to do what it takes to make that change.
....Given that up to 95 percent of offenders eventually return to society, we need to do better. According to one major study, two-thirds of offenders are arrested again within three years of their release. In Minnesota, up to 36 percent of offenders are sent back to prison for a felony within three years of release, pretty much mirroring the national situation.
....Minnesota's Comprehensive Offender Reentry Plan (MCORP) was devised five years ago and funded three years ago to help cut the recidivism rate.
Norway builds the world's most humane prison
But how restorative is it?
Ten years and 1.5 billion Norwegian kroner ($252 million) in the making, Halden is spread over 75 acres (30 hectares) of gently sloping forest in southeastern Norway. The facility boasts amenities like a sound studio, jogging trails and a freestanding two-bedroom house where inmates can host their families during overnight visits. Unlike many American prisons, the air isn't tinged with the smell of sweat and urine. Instead, the scent of orange sorbet emanates from the "kitchen laboratory" where inmates take cooking courses. "In the Norwegian prison system, there's a focus on human rights and respect," says Are Hoidal, the prison's governor. "We don't see any of this as unusual."
Va. OKs bill to let violent crime victims meet with death row inmates
Lorraine Whoberry tried for years to meet face-to-face with her daughter's killer before he was executed last month. She was repeatedly denied.
So the day after she witnessed his execution, Whoberry sat down with Gov. Bob McDonnell and asked for his help. A bill was making its way through the Virginia General Assembly that would allow victims of violent crime to meet with the perpetrators, but it excluded those on death row and juveniles.
McDonnell amended the bill to allow victims to meet with inmates on death row. On Wednesday, the General Assembly unanimously approved the change.
Although more than half of the states have victim-offender mediation programs, advocates said Virginia would be one of the first to cement it in state law. Virginia also becomes one of only a handful that allow meetings with death row inmates.
“Even though it's not going to affect us, at least we've got something done,” Whoberry said when told about the change.
Police apologise over child murders probe
from the article on BBC News:
Scotland's largest police force has apologised for a series of failures in its handling of a double child murder.
Strathclyde Police said that it was "extremely sorry" for the way Giselle Ross was treated after the deaths of her sons, Paul, six, and Jay, two.
The children were murdered by their father Ashok Kalyanjee at a beauty spot in the Campsie Fells in May 2008.
Parole denied for repeat drink-driver who killed woman
from Radio New Zealand News:
The Parole Board is encouraging the family of a woman killed by a repeat drink-driver to consider a restorative justice meeting with him.
Jonathan Barclay is serving a prison term of five years and six months for the manslaughter of 20-year-old Debbie Ashton, whom he killed in a head-on car crash near Nelson.
Prisons in the sky
by Dan Van Ness
One of the persistent themes in penology has been the idea that architecture can help produce transformation in people. From the monastery-like isolation of prisoners in the Walnut Street Jail and its successor the Eastern State Penitentiary in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries to the Auburn model allowing for aggregate work but individual isolation, to Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon, to today's Supermax prisons, form has indeed followed function.
Now eVolo magazine has awarded first place in its 2010 Skyscraper Competition to Malaysian architectural students for their Vertical Prison, conceived of as somehow floating high above the ground with elevator pods transporting prisoners, staff, food and so forth between the prison and earth.
Prisoners would work in farms to supply earth with organic products. Those who behaved well would be given cells with windows pointed to the earth so they would be motivated to reform themselves.
The naivete of the design (the prison floats without support in the sky) and reform strategy (the architecture students do not appear to have researched the history of prisons) is remarkable, as is that of the judges of the competition.
Crime victims get right to apology
Criminals could be ordered to say sorry to victims in face-toface meetings as part of their sentence.
Gordon Brown wants those who have had offences committed against them to be given the right to a personal apology.
Criminals would also have to explain why they broke the law and offer some way of putting it right. The plans to shame them would be on top of any prison or community sentence handed out.
from their website:
Jailbrake is a competition to find and support great ideas that could break the cycle of youth offending using simple web and mobile tools. Whether that’s about helping more young people access services and support, or giving them a way of staying safe.
We’re looking for people who have an idea about how to slow down and stop the cycle of youth offending – whether you’re part of a youth offending team, a service user, police officer or a member of a local community – with people who can make their ideas idea a reality.
....From January to March 2010, we ran a call for ideas to find great new ideas to slow down and stop the cycle of youth offending using simple web and mobile tools.
A grand total of 50 very early stage ideas were submitted to Jailbrake and we chose just six that we saw the greatest potential to build at the Jailbrake weekend, 26th-28th March 2010.
So here are our six ideas: