- Showing 10 posts published between Dec 01, 2009 and Dec 31, 2009 [Show all]
The Monitor's View: Seattle cop-killer case – the exception, not the rule
from the Christian Science Monitor's editorial:
The case of the ambush and killing of four police officers in a coffee shop near Seattle on Sunday is exceptionally troubling – emphasis on exceptionally.
Four police officers shot, execution-style. Their families struggle to recover as they mourn. The suspect, Maurice Clemmons – released from jail just days before the ambush, despite a long history of violent crime and known mental problems. After a massive manhunt, he's dead, too, shot early Tuesday by a policeman investigating a stolen car.
The extraordinary nature of this crime is why it's captured the nation's attention. But it's also a reason for caution. High-profile crimes have a tendency to rank emotion over reason when it comes to the criminal justice system.
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.
God is a just judge
from the post by Perennial Student:
Every church I have been part of since I was converted at age fourteen has clearly taught that justice means that God has to punish sin. We receive forgiveness only because the punishment we deserve was suffered by Jesus in our place.
This was a doctrine my mother hated. To her, that was the opposite of justice, for an innocent man to suffer in the place of the guilty, even if it was voluntary on his part. But she agreed that justice meant that people must bear the consequences of their mistakes. In this life, that meant one suffered the consequences of poor choices. After death, it meant reincarnation (or possibly transmigration) in order to continue working on problems left unresolved in the previous life.
Dec 14, 2009 Biblical
Volunteer statements: “every Circle is my favorite”, “I needed this Circle more than anyone here”
Once and awhile I get tired. I get tired and lonely and frustrated. I wonder why I am a workaholic and kick myself for doing this to myself. I keep repeating a cycle. Then I am in Circle and people say things that catch me off guard.
Suddenly someone is talking about surviving physical abuse as a child. As most of us look at the paper plates on the floor, because the speaker is explaining how her teachers, police officers and social workers used these values to get her safe. She expresses this and only starts to tear up at the end. No one interrupts, no rescuing comments, no affirming “thanks for sharing”. Because that is how Circle works. We tell the truth one person at a time.
The need for a new kind of justice in youth crime
As the two leading providers of restorative justice for youth in Sonoma County — Restorative Resources and RECOURSE Mediation Services — we know what works when dealing with youthful offenders, and why. The restorative justice practices used by our non-profit agencies are firmly focused on repairing harm done to people and relationships, rather than imposing a punishment disconnected from the needs of those harmed. Restorative justice gives victims a voice in how they want things to be “made right.”
The evidence shows that in communities, including school communities, restorative practices build social capital and achieve social discipline through participatory learning and decision-making. When there is wrongdoing, everyone affected by the behavior gets to play an active role in addressing the wrong and making things right. This goes far beyond punishment; it makes real, positive change possible.
Civil Rights and Restorative Justice project at Northeastern University School of Law
from the project's website:
The Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project (CRRJ) conducts research and supports policy initiatives on anti-civil rights violence in the United States and other miscarriages of justice of that period. Located at Northeastern University School of Law, CRRJ serves as a resource for scholars, policymakers, and organizers involved in various initiatives seeking justice for crimes of the civil rights era.
There is broad consensus in American political culture that the law enforcement system, particularly in the Deep South, failed to protect participants in the 1960s-era Civil Rights Movement from anti-civil rights violence. Communities across the country are grappling with how to make amends decades after these events. Some have turned to the criminal justice system. State and local prosecutors have brought fresh cases against the perpetrators of old hate crimes. Federal legislation has been proposed to enhance state investigations. A sense of urgency hangs over these efforts, for those most affected by the events are aging.
CRRJ focuses on these public policy and criminal justice initiatives. It conducts research into the nature and extent of anti-civil rights violence. CRRJ works with members of a diverse community – prosecutors, lawmakers, victims – that is seeking genuine reconciliation through legal proceedings, law reform, and private investigations. CRRJ assists these groups to assess and develop a range of policy approaches, including criminal prosecutions, truth and reconciliation proceedings, and legislative remedies. On the research front, CRRJ’s work aims to develop reliable data with which to analyze events of anti-civil rights violence and to support research into the history and current significance of anti-civil rights violence.
Platforms for a restorative society in Northern Ireland
Reconciliation has been an important concept in building relationships and structures in Northern Ireland that lessen the harm done to people in the midst of conflict. It is also an important concept in the language of Track One, Two and Three conflict transformation strategies.
Central to reconciliation is the promotion of right relationships and the securing of agreements and structural arrangements that build a new acknowledgement and respect between those seen as ‘different others’. Such work seeks to right previous imbalances and wrongs. Important elements of that agenda in Northern Ireland include the drive for legal remedies and new laws on equality, good relations, human rights, harassment and hate crime, and the exploration of how the past is acknowledged and how victims are respected and remembered.
As a transcending idea, reconciliation continually challenges current ways of living with different and previously estranged others. However, it is a concept that many men and women have difficulty applying to their own actions. There is a tendency to see it as an activity for others in important positions, rather than as something all citizens must contribute to as part of their daily endeavours.
Violence prevention: the evidence
Violence can be prevented. This is not an article of faith, but a statement based on evidence. Violence prevention: the evidence is a set of seven briefings based on rigorous reviews of the literature which examines scientific evidence for the effectiveness of interventions to prevent interpersonal and self-directed violence. Each briefing focuses on a broad strategy for preventing violence, and under that umbrella reviews the evidence for the effectiveness of specific interventions.
Victoria’s Neighbourhood Justice Centre
Community Justice Centres are neighbourhood-focused centres that seek to enhance community participation in the justice system, address local problems, and enhance the quality of local community life....Centres often vary in their model and focus but generally share a motivation to address crime and safety concerns locally, by developing effective relationships and links with the local community.
Community justice centres challenge traditional methods of the criminal justice system. Rather than focusing on responding to crime after it has occurred, they seek to develop new relationships, both within the justice system and with stakeholders from the wider community, and to trial new and innovative approaches to community safety...
A feature common to the various kinds of centres around the world is that they seek to respond in innovative ways to issues that may be otherwise considered negligible in the traditional criminal justice system.
Revise laws to lower prison costs, keep everyone safer
Michigan has more than an economic crisis -- we have a crime crisis, too. And we won't be able to solve the overall budget shortfall without making significant cuts in the corrections budget. Our current criminal justice system is costing us over a billion dollars a year, far more than our neighboring states are spending. Yet despite this huge expense for corrections, our communities are still plagued by crime.
Here are a few troubling facts:
- Michigan's violent crime rate is higher than all other states in the Great Lakes region.
- Corrections is the third most expensive item in Michigan's budget, with only health care and education costing more.
- The Michigan Department of Corrections employs one out of every three state workers....
But we have good news....