- Showing 10 posts published between Dec 01, 2009 and Dec 31, 2009 [Show all]
Rethinking school discipline
Classroom learning is a delicate balance between teacher and student -- a balance of discipline and nurturing that shelters students from the chaos of the outside world and replaces it with structure and inspiration to help focus on building their minds. But the recently published analysis by the Associated Press on in-school disciplinary actions in Illinois reveals that the disciplinary side of education is often too heavy-handed, sweeping away not just troublemakers but potentially successful students, too. These bleak findings show that while African American students make up 20% of the average student population in the past decade, they comprise nearly half of all public school suspensions and expulsions.
In its mania for jailing people, Britain has declared trivial offences crimes
I have a foolproof scheme for cutting crime in Britain. It would slash court overcrowding, rescue legal aid, empty prisons and calm public fears. It would save billions of pounds, and all without endangering a hair on a single Briton's head. The scheme involves removing thousands of recently "invented" offences from the statute book.
This will not happen, because if there is one thing a macho politician loves, it is declaring any social problem or public disobedience a crime, and hiring more police to confront it. Constantly extending criminality enables prime ministers and home secretaries to walk tall down Main Street, pistols twirling in their fingers, and with no care for who gets hurt.
ZAMBIA: Justice delayed becoming justice denied
Harry Mubita was tired of his wretched condition in prison. He had been in Lusaka Central Prison for more than a year, and still there was no sign that his theft case would be heard.
Mubita, a tailor, accepted money from a woman who wanted him to make her a traditional dress known as the Chitenge Outfit – a long skirt and an intricately cut and sewn top, with a matching wrap-around and head-scarf. All made from a single length of material.
But he failed to deliver.
Mubita also did not refund the ZMK70,000 (about 14.40 dollars) payment, or return the six metres of cotton print. The aggrieved woman told the police, and two constables armed with AK-47 rifles arrested Mubita at his Kaunda Square Market shop. Mubita's case is not unusual.
Long road to healing in Zimbabwe
On the second day of the National Healing and Reconciliation Workshop, after a period of heartfelt prayers and singing, one pastor stood and read the following: "Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked."
"This is a day for victims," facilitator Mazvita Machinga announced.
It was a day when organizers hoped to create awareness among pastors and community leaders of the needs of victims of political violence within Zimbabwe. In the first exercise of the day, people were placed in small groups and asked to discuss the following questions: What types of victimization have people in your community experienced? What do these victims feel as a result of their suffering? What do these victims need for healing?
Dec 18, 2009 National Reconciliation
Jamaican Ministry seeks to reduce case backlog through dispute resolution
from the Justice Ministry press release:
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Robert Rainford, has said that the Ministry is aiming to make significant inroads in reducing the backlog of court cases within the next five years, under the Justice Reform Programme.
Speaking at the 11th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF), at the Foundation's headquarters in Kingston, Friday (December 11), he disclosed that, based on figures from the courts, the annual backlog of cases could amount to as much as 150,000 cases per year.
Restorative justice practices will help us get at the roots
In my time in the District, I've seen clashes between students who come from very different backgrounds. I've also been a part of facilitating cross-cultural dialogues that were incredibly transformative for students and the school community, helping students break stereotypes they held about people of other races and ethnicities, and preventing inter-racial conflict and violence.
The recent attacks on Asian American students at South Philadelphia High School stand as a clear message that a tension exists between students of different backgrounds.
And our response as a District will show what our values are.
The Children's Aid Society of New York — A New Start for Disconnected Youth
Ana Bermudez, director of juvenile justice programs for The Children’s Aid Society of New York City, works with youth from some of the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. When she
started with Children’s Aid in 2007, Bermudez knew that a restorative approach would be critical, and she has infused the practices throughout the initiatives she oversees, saying, “I was not going to run any of the programs here without a restorative focus.”
Each year, Children’s Aid serves 150,000 children and families at locations throughout the city, providing services ranging from job training and academic support to health care and family counseling. Bermudez heads the agency’s Lasting Investments in Neighborhood Connections (LINC) program, which helps formerly incarcerated youth transition back to their community. She also
supervises the Next Generation Center in the South Bronx, a LINC site that provides recreational and educational programs — and a haven in a neighborhood plagued by poverty and violence.
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.
West Yorkshire Police try an unusual Christmas card
from the press release:
A ten year old girl's letter is the focal point of this year's Bradford
District Christmas burglary campaign. The letter was written to the man
who burgled her home and left her scared to return or go out in the
area. Amy Winteridge wrote down her feelings so that they could be read
out at a meeting her Mum had with the man who had burgled them as part
of West Yorkshire Probation Service's restorative justice process. On
reading the letter the man was visibly moved by what Amy had to say.
The letter is now the centre of a special Christmas card which will be sent out to known burglars across the Bradford District. It's hoped that it will make some of them think about their actions and how they affect children in the homes they target. The card will be hand delivered to a lot of the criminals and former criminals by Officers from Neighbourhood Policing Teams to give that extra personal reminder that the Police will be watching them in the run up to Christmas.
Review: When Brute Force Fails: How to have less crime and less punishment
Law enforcement policy in the United States rests implicitly on the “rational actor” model of traditional economics, which holds that people take only those actions whose benefits exceed their costs.
This model says that crime will be deterred if the expected punishment is strong enough — a prediction that has not been borne out in practice. Although long sentences are now common and the incarceration rate is five times what it was during most of the 20th century, the crime rate is still two and a half times the average of 1950-62.