The promise of restorative justice: New approaches for criminal justice and beyond
Reviewed by Martin Wright
It is becoming increasingly clear that the principles of restorative justice can be used, as the editors say, outside the formal criminal justice system, and this book bears witness to that. Half is about criminal justice, and half about other applications in schools and elsewhere. The contributors reflect the book’s origins among a group at Fresno Pacific University in California, but other chapters come from Bulgaria, Canada, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.
1000th Sycamore Tree - Restorative Justice programme changes prisoner’s lives
Prison Fellowship’s restorative justice programme Sycamore Tree achieves a milestone today (14th December) when the 1000th programme is completed.
Over 30 Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions in England and Wales offer the programme and around 2,000 learners participate every year. The 1000th Sycamore Tree is being offered at HMP Wayland, Norfolk.
Sycamore Tree raises the awareness of the impact of crime on victims and teaches the principles and application of restorative justice.
Green Paper: Breaking the cycle - Effective punishment, rehabilitation and sentencing of offenders
from the UK Government's new Green Paper:
78. We are committed to increasing the range and availability of restorative justice approaches to support reparation. Restorative justice is the name given to processes which provide victims with the opportunity to play a personal role in determining how an offender makes amends. This can often include direct reparation. A substantial minority of victims would consider meeting their offender by way of a restorative justice process and those victims who do report high levels of satisfaction. The evidence suggests that the approach may also have a positive impact on the offender’s likelihood of reoffending in the future. Getting an offender to confront the consequences of their crimes directly is often an effective punishment for less serious offences.
Against my will
by Radha Stern
Radha Stern's son Christopher was murdered in 1996. This is her story of how meeting with prisoners, and eventually with the man who killed her son, has helped her find relief and comfort.
Getting into a prison is intimidating. Accompanied by my prison escort, I went to the first gate, presented my ID to a guard who carried a gun. I signed in, was approved and went to the next gate to meet another armed guard and pass through a metal detector. After that gate, I went to another entrance with a guard and gun, signed in, was checked in and approved by the computer, was scanned with a hand-held metal detector, and stamped under the left wrist with the daily stamp. Then I went into a Sally port a large cell – where a huge door slams shut with a resounding “clank.” I was held there until the opposite door opened with another loud “clank,” and I entered another Sally port, which then unlocked and allowed me access into a large open quad.
Criminals, community work together on successful mural project
From the article by Casey McNerthney:
Talking Friday about criminals he was asked to work with on a community mural, Lake City resident Chuck Dickey recalled his first reaction.
"I didn't want them here."
Nearly two years ago, the city proposed sending the offenders to the neighborhood as part of the Community Court program. Officials say 50 repeat, non-violent offenders were part of the recent effort -- mostly people convicted of prostitution, theft and criminal trespass. The program gives misdemeanor offenders the chance to get social services and work on projects designed to pay back the community.
Their work changed the minds of people like Dickey.
Prisons, rehabilitation and justice
by Lynette Parker
Recently, I read an article about the struggles faced by the state of Florida after the US Supreme Court banned sentences of life without parole for juveniles who do not kill anyone. In the discussion over the need to revisit cases and re-sentence the offenders, one retired judge was quoted:
“There are no resources in prisons for rehabilitation,'' the former judge said. ``You give him 30 years, and he'll get out when he's 45, what's he going to do? Re-offend. Some people, regardless of their age, need to be put away forever.”
From death row to elusive freedom
from the article by Ron Keine on Other Words:
Now I can eat eggs every morning. But every night I relive my death row experiences. Every day, I still struggle to contain the anger rising inside of me.
Frankly, every time I awaken from this nightmare of finding myself back on death row, I'm embarrassed. I have been out for a long time. I should be over it by now. But every time I get lost in a book or daydream, when I wake up in the morning, or look up from a crossword puzzle or read a newspaper, the feeling creeps up on me. I'm back on death row. And I am not alone.
An update on Greg Wilhoit
By Lisa Rea:
This is an update on Greg Wilhoit. As I said to Greg's sister, Nancy, I am thrilled to hear of his remarkable recovery since six months ago most of us thought he was going to leave us. But God had other plans. Greg is doing so well in that he is walking (with the help of a walker) when it looked like he would never walk again. We are very thankful. He also has some big news: he was getting married this month in Oklahoma to Judy, a woman he's known for 25 years! Greg will be honored in Texas in October 2010 during an event hosted by the Journey of Hope: From Violence to Healing when the organization barnstorms the state with its message of hope and healing as it embraces restorative justice and stands against the death penalty.
Victim Support: The SORI Programme and Restorative Justice
From the article by Own Sharp on info 4 security:
The arrival of the coalition Government in Westminster has prompted some fierce debate about the future of the criminal justice system and the rehabilitation of offenders.
There has been talk about a ‘rehabilitation revolution’ to cut reoffending, while the role of short sentences has been questioned as part of a sentencing review which will report next month.
As part of this debate, ministers have expressed an interest in restorative justice which we at Victim Support believe could benefit victims, cut reconvictions and, as a result, save the taxpayer money.
It’s a concept that has been put into practice in Wales and other parts of the UK, and gives victims the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime, to derive answers to their questions and to receive an apology.
In addition, it helps many victims get on with their lives while giving offenders an understanding of the real impact of what they have done, as well as a chance to do something to repair the harm.
APAC: Brazil’s restorative justice prisons
APAC’s approach is opposite to most prisons. Instead of making the people incarcerated in them feel bad, guilty, and like failures, APAC works to make people feel worthy, respected, and able to restore their lives. APAC gives people hope that they can contribute something to help others and that they can be of service in some way, no matter what their situation.
APAC’s restorative approach begins with the name it uses to refer to the people who live in these prisons. Instead of calling the people inmates or prisoners, APAC calls the recuperandos because they are “people in the process of rehabilitation.” The late Insoo Kim Berg, co-founder of solution-focused brief therapy, would have loved this name recuperandos because she recognized the importance of language and how our labels influence behavior and our experiences.