- Showing 10 posts published between Jan 01, 2010 and Jan 31, 2010 [Show all]
My Classroom's Journey with Restorative Practices
From the 7 January 2010 Restorative Practices E-Forum by Deanna L. Webb:
When I graduated from college with a degree in special education, I was prepared to offer students specially designed instruction, program modifications and a variety of teaching techniques to match their individual learning styles, as well as tools and techniques they could use to be successful with academics. What I was not prepared for, however, was the need to fill in the blanks in their lives that were not a part of the typical academic school environment. This became especially evident when I began teaching in the emotional support setting. My students all lacked a sense of community, and consequently they also lacked a sense of accountability. During my first few years as a teacher in this setting, I struggled to connect with students and to keep them engaged in the school environment. Some students did very well, but I was unable to reach others. The tools I acquired in IIRP classes and then used in my classroom allowed me to build community and teach accountability and respect to a very challenging population of students.
The first change I made to begin building community was to rearrange my classroom management system to reflect the new focus of our classroom. I created “Community, Inc.,” a classroom management system that was “publicly owned; created communities; invested in relationships and made a profit from the positive growth and relationships it created.” In this new system every student had a job, along with responsibilities to the overall “company.” My classroom had “corporate meetings” at least twice a day, and sometimes more frequently if we needed to address an issue in the classroom. “Community, Inc.” pushed the typical boundaries of classroom rules to a system where the students decided the norms of behavior in the classroom, along with how each student would be held accountable, not just to the teacher and administration, but also to the community as a whole.
New Items in the RJ Online Library
During this past week, the Restorative Justice Online research database reached 9700 citations. Database entries include several publication types including academic publications, practice manuals, research reports, and policy documents.
Below is a list of items added to the database during the past week.
Prisoners donating money to Lakewood families
Note: On November 29, 2009, a gunman shot and killed four police officers as they sat eating at a restaurant in Lakewood, Washington.
It's a cold and unforgiving place - a place you'd expect to find nothing but bitterness and hatred toward police. But at the Monroe State Reformatory, the heartless killings of four Lakewood police officers are softening even the most hardened criminals.
"The first thing that went through my mind was, 'oh no, not again'," said triple murderer Tony Wheat, who killed three gas station clerks during robberies 44 years ago and who is serving a life sentence at Monroe.
He's part of a prison organization called "Concerned Lifers" where those serving life terms try to mentor young convicts and keep them from reoffending. Wheat says the Lakewood killings shocked many inside the reformatory's walls.
True stories of false confessions
by Eric Assur
The justice system seeks to administer true justice. That a number of citizens have been executed and then later been revealed as innocent is a profound statement that the system is not perfect. The Innocence Project and similar groups in the North American justice system have shown that hundreds of incarcerated persons should never have been found guilty. This book is a sobering rendition of a few dozen such crime stories and legal travesties.
Confessions would seem to be convincing evidence of actual guilt. But they are not. True Stories is an anthology of unnumbered chapters (there are over 40) called ‘cases’ that are arranged or presented in groupings based on the type of faulty confession.
Jan 08, 2010 Book Review
Working restoratively in schools: A guidebook for developing safe and connected learning communities
from Tom Cavanagh's review:
The author of this book is a well-known practitioner of the application of restorative justice theory in schools, particularly in Australia. He is to be commended for providing a practical resource for educators to help them understand the theory of restorative justice as it is applied in educational settings and to help them apply that theory in practical ways.
My review of this book is influenced by my special interest in developing the theory of a Culture of Care in schools based on restorative justice principles, particularly related to the importance of building and maintaining healthy and caring relationships, in order that all students, particularly those students who do not belong to the dominant culture, may flourish in school and as adults.
Launch of Wentworth Restorative Justice Project in Durban
from the announcement on Imagine Durban:
Khulisa is an award-winning NGO dedicated to preventing crime through promoting rehabilitation, education and reconciliation.
In partnership with the South Durban Basin Area Based Management Programme of Ethekwini Municipality, Khulisa has launched an integrated pilot project aimed at bringing the concepts of restorative justice (RJ) into the Merewent community.
Khulisa helps families and communities support victims who need healing and offenders who want to make amends in order to provide support to the justice system by maximising community participation.
Wrongdoing (and heroism) in context
from Howard Zehr's review:
Philip Zimbardo’s 2007 book, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, provides an in-depth description and evaluation of his 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment. To study the dynamics of prison, this famous experiment randomly assigned college student to be guards or inmates in a mock prison. Within a very short time the project had to be terminated because it had become too real: “guards” were becoming abusive and “prisoners” were experiencing the traumas of real-life prison. However, Zimbardo’s book goes far beyond the Stanford experiment. He extends his data to include the abuses and torture that occurred at Abu Ghraib prison - he was an expert witness in one of the resulting legal cases - and explores the dynamics that shape human behavior in extreme circumstances generally.
....Zimbardo points out that western institutions of medicine, education, law, religion and psychology are invested in an individualistic, “dispositional,” view of human behavior. Both wrongdoing and heroism are seen as reflections primarily of individual choices, qualities and dispositions.
But individual disposition is only one factor that shapes human behavior; just as important - and in certain circumstances, more important - are situations and systems or structures. (Cf pp. vii, 7, 211-212, 320) Behavior is strongly affected by situations, and situations are shaped by systems and structures (p. 226). Placed in the wrong situation and structure, all of us are capable of terrible things. In the “right” situations and systems, all have the potential for heroism. Zimbardo does not deny individual choice and makeup, of course, but individual disposition is only one side of a three-sided triangle (dispositions, situations, systems) that shapes human behavior.
Restorative justice can alter behavior of perpetrators, teach empathy
....Q: What do you say to people who would challenge restorative justice as being soft on criminals?
It is just the opposite. It is not at all easy to sit in front of someone you have harmed and listen to how their lives have been affected by your actions; to hear your family say they don't understand why this happened and break down into tears; or to hear your teacher/coach/youth minister/best friend express their disappointment at your actions.
It becomes very hard to keep up a mask of indifference and solitude and pretend that other human beings are not affected by your behavior.
The bottom-line goal for restorative justice is stopping crime by holding offenders accountable in the future. All of this can take place within the current justice system. We don't have to start from scratch.
North Wales Police chief to step up restorative justice
from BBC News:
The new chief constable of North Wales Police is stepping up a system of restorative justice where offenders apologise to their victims.
Mark Polin says he believes the strategy can play an important role in crime reduction.
It is also seen as a way for first-time offenders to alter their behaviour without receiving a criminal record.
Restorative justice offers an opportunity, not a guarantee, for healing
from Lorenn Walker's blog:
“Not everyone’s wounds will heal” after being victimized by crime, an experienced judge says. This is true. Some people will never heal. Restorative justice is not a panacea that will heal every single person’s wounds suffered from being a crime victim. Restorative justice offers only the opportunity for healing, not a guarantee, but we know from an abundance of research that restorative justice helps many people.