Prison Inmates to Receive Prestigious Peacemaker Award
From the article by Laurel Kaufer and Douglas Noll on Mediate.com:
Fifteen women, all inmates, most, “lifers,” will receive the 2010 Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year Award by the Southern California Mediation Association.
How is it that women, with dark pasts, serving time for murder and manslaughter, can be honored as Peacemakers?
Criminals could cut sentences by saying ‘sorry’
Tens of thousands of offenders may be able to reduce their sentences by making personal apologies to their victims, under plans for a “rehabilitation revolution” in the criminal justice system.
Crispin Blunt, the prisons minister, is considering the move as part of a drive to offer victims the chance to come face-to-face with the person who committed the crime against them. A report released today by two charities, Victim Support and the Restorative Justice Consortium, suggests the policy could save £185m in two years by cutting reoffending.
‘Puppies for Parole’ making a difference
Puppies for Parole, as the Missouri Department of Corrections calls the program, is at work in eight state prisons, where offenders have the time and patience to give dogs from shelters basic obedience training.
What were they thinking? Horse farms and inmates?
It was one of those feel-good programs that come across reporters' desks nearly every day. This was from the state prison system: "Restorative Justice Benefits Women Inmates and Starving Horses."
Here's what the news release said:
The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services today added yet another to its growing list of unique restorative justice inmate initiatives, putting a work crew comprised of female inmates at Howard County’s Days End Farm Horse Rescue. The inmates, from the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCI-W) in Jessup, will begin with grounds maintenance and landscaping, and eventually move into equine care. “What we try to do with these restorative justice programs is not only give inmates skills and the chance to pay back the society they’ve harmed, but meaningful projects that really do make a difference in the lives of people -- and in this case, horses,” said DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynard.
Only state prison officials forgot to tell the neighbors of the horse farm, as well as the young volunteers who work there. Now, state officials have shut down the program, according to a story by The Baltimore Sun's Larry Carson.
Lessons in transformation: "You gotta smile at the little f…ers"
By KIm Workman
Last night, Maori Television screened the first of a two part programme dealing with the issue of family violence and child abuse. ‘Tamariki Ora - A New Beginning’ was a defining moment for Maori. It showed Maori men acknowledging that the abuse they received as children, turned them into abusers of their own children. But it also showed the extent to which whanau (families) are acknowledging the issues, forging their own solutions, and actively working within their whanau and the community to encourage positive, loving relationships.
I recall in my own marae (*meeting house) , less than 20 years ago, female elders defending a male elder who had sexually abused a visiting school child, as being a practise that was culturally acceptable in traditional times. We all knew that was nonsense, but no one had the guts to face the issue head on. Those days are now well and truly gone.
I wept tears at the programme – but they were tears of joy. From this day on, no one will ever be able to say that Maori are failing to take responsibility for their own behaviour.
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.
At this prison graduation, the focus is on knowing the effects of their crimes
....During this season of high school and college graduations, 16 men received a very different kind of diploma Monday at Columbia Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison.
Over three months, the inmates voluntarily completed a 30-session course on restorative justice, a curriculum meant to help them understand how much they'd harmed their victims, the community and themselves. For some of them, Monday's graduation ceremony was the first time they'd done anything worthy of even minimal praise.
"I've been in all sorts of programs and always been kicked out," said Darren Morris, 33, whose peers voted him class speaker.
Can prisoners also be victims? Promoting injustice through legislation
by Kim Workman
Last week’s introduction of the Prisoners' and Victims' Claims (Expiry and Application Dates) Amendment Bill, brings to mind one of the most shameful incidents in the history of New Zealand’s prison system. As Head of Prisons at the time, it gives me no great pleasure to reflect on the incident and the subsequent political response to it.
In January 1993, three young prisoners at Mangaroa (now Hawkes Bay) prison were systematically beaten and tortured by prison officers. They held the young men naked in outside exercise yards, and used hit squads to repeatedly beat them over a three day period. The prisoners were initially denied access to medical support for injuries which included bruising and cracked bones.
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.