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:
Africville apology is a start, not an end
This week's apology by city of Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly, for the evictions and razing of the African-Canadian community of Africville in Nova Scotia during the 1960s, marks a small but significant moment in the history of slavery and racism in Canada. The official apology issued February 24, 2010, made on behalf of Halifax Regional Council and Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), was accompanied by terms of the 2005 agreement reached between the municipality and the Africville Genealogy Society, which, along with a formal acknowledgment of loss, included:
- $3 million (CAN) contributed towards the reconstruction of the Seaview United Baptist Church which will serve as a memorial to Africville;
- 2.5 acres of land at Seaview Park to be provided to the Africville Heritage Trust Board;
- a park maintenance agreement to be established between Africville Heritage Trust and HRM for the lands known as Seaview Park;
- and, the establishment of an African-Nova Scotian Affairs function within HRM.
What is justice? State program brings victims and offenders face to face
Martha Early, a middle-aged single mother, and Andrew Papke, the chaplain's assistant, sit silently across from each other in the chapel, their hands clasped tightly across a wooden table. To Early's right sits a stack of pictures of her daughter Beth, killed -- along with her boyfriend, Daniel London -- by a teenage drunken driver in 1996. In front of her sits a well-worn binder bursting with colorful stationery and letters full of memories of Beth; she brought them to share with Andrew. Next to the binder is her Bible.
Early gazes at Papke with a look of calm sadness, while Papke's head hangs solemnly. Seconds turn into minutes, and neither one moves. It seems as if the slightest murmur would send them back to earth, where they will be forced to communicate with words.
Finally, Early squeezes Papke's hand.
"I love you, Andrew," she whispers.
"I love you, too," he answers hoarsely.
Within moments, Papke's arms -- the very same arms that steered a car headlong into Beth Early -- are encircling her mother. After engaging in a brief hug, Martha Early gets ready to begin her three-hour drive back to Austin. Andrew returns to his prison cell at the Walls Unit in Huntsville, where he is serving 40 years for intoxication manslaughter.
Thief returns stolen penguin with apology
Ten-year-old Alexis Hood read the letter of apology Wednesday while sitting next to her penguin that was stolen New Years Day.
"Dear family, we are very sorry for the trouble we have caused for your family," she read.
Prisoners and Community Members Working Together?
In looking through my Twitter account, I read the line “Charity volunteers upset by prisoner work placement” with a link to a brief listing of newspaper articles. The dispute involved a charity shop where several elderly volunteers were told that the shop would be participating in a prison volunteer scheme bringing prisoners into to work alongside the volunteers. According to the article, they were to work with the prisoners or “be shown the door.” At the same time, the volunteers – some who had given years of service – expressed concerns about their personal safety.
As I read the article, I was of two minds. I see the value of having prisoners approaching release work in the community. This helps with the transition from the institutional environment to the challenges faced on the outside. It also provides a mechanism for those in prison to build pro-social relationships with community members. At the same time, I can understand the fear and hurt being expressed by the volunteers upon being informed of the scheme and not having a choice in the matter.
Escobar's son seeks atonement for father's sins
Pablo Escobar, who led Colombia's Medellin cocaine cartel, was once the world's most wanted man. At the height of his power in the 1980s, he killed politicians and policemen and ordered an airliner blown out of the sky. With U.S. help, the Colombian police finally hunted him down.
Sixteen years after Escobar's death, the families of his victims haven't forgotten about him. And neither has Escobar's only son [Sebastian Marroquin], whose story is told in a new documentary film that opens Dec. 10 in Colombia and then in January at the Sundance Film Festival.
The son, who lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, says that he wants to atone for the sins of his father.
Restorative justice from a survivor's perspective
by Penny Beerntsen
Note: this article originally appeared as a comment responding to a posting by Lisa Rea. We were concerned that many readers may have missed it and so are posting it as its own entry. We are grateful to Penny Beerntsen for her willingness to share her extraordinary story.
As a survivor of a violent crime, I am a firm believer in the power of restorative justice programs to transform both the victim and the offender. I learned about victim offender conferencing shortly after surviving a violent sexual assault and attempted murder. Although I was unable to meet with my offender, as he had not taken responsibility for his crime, I began participating in victim impact panels inside prisons. Although I was not speaking directly to my offender, I was telling my story to others who were incarcerated for violent crimes, including rape. Much of my healing took place inside maximum security prisons as a result of the dialogue I engaged in with these offenders. If someone had told me at the time of the crime that this would be the case, I would have told that individual they were crazy! I participated in these panels because I thought I had something to offer the offenders. I learned that the process, if properly conducted, is mutually beneficial.
Apology lite: Truths, doubts, and reconciliations in the Senate’s guarded apology for slavery
The United States Senate formally apologized for slavery on June 18, 2009. This followed an apology made nearly a year earlier, on July 29, 2008, by the House of Representatives. Unlike the House apology, the Senate apology contains additional limiting language, specifically stating that it cannot be used as a ground for monetary compensation. The apology is nearly nine hundred words, with a preamble which goes into some detail about the wrongness of slavery, admitting that slaves were “brutalized, humiliated, [and] dehumanized.” It then states:
(1) APOLOGY FOR THE ENSLAVEMENT AND SEGREGATION OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS.—The Congress . . . apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws . . . .
(2) DISCLAIMER.—Nothing in this resolution—
(A) authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or
(B) serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.
Community justice: Not to you or for you, but with you
by Christa Pierpont. This is a selection of an article from a special online complement to the Summer 2008 issue of ACResolution, Vol 7, Issue 4. The Association for Conflict Resolution has given permission for it to be used on RJOnline. The complete article is attached.
....The “magic” of restorative practices comes from a principled belief that when there is a breach in relationships, people can re-story their lives (often in gifted ways), given an active and supported responsibility to do so. It is clear from the research report, Restorative Justice: The Evidence, (Lawrence W. Sherman and Heather Strang, Smith Institute, 2007) that individuals can transcend large and small wrongs in a highly satisfactory way with improved long-term consequences when restorative practices are used. Our next question was: Could this opportunity be expanded from individuals to a wider sense of cultural harms?
In particular, could restorative processes begin to address underlying racial anger and fears in our region without exacerbating negative economic realities? These questions grew out of dynamics we were discovering as we explored the history of public school education in Virginia. When the RCF studied school disciplinary statistics for public schools, we found a significantly higher rate of disciplinary action for low-income and minority youth. Efforts are now being made to reduce out-of-classroom placements and to transition to more restorative disciplinary practices, but it will take decades and funding to re-build skills for individuals who have given up on the public school system.
The odds are against ex-offenders
I had been told that he was a Baptist preacher and had worked as a prison chaplain in the Texas Department of Corrections for more than 30 years. When he walked into the restaurant to meet me for lunch he fit the stereotype one might expect. Wavy hair combed straight back, a western-style jacket and boots. When lunch was served he asked that we bless our food.
But as soon as he began to talk about the plight of prisoners and ex-offenders any preconceived stereotypes quickly shattered. For the next hour he spoke quietly but passionately about the desperate circumstances of individuals who had been released from prison, the inhumanity of the prison system, the apathy and cruelty of society and misguided public policies.