Restorative justice is the heart of nonviolent change
from the entry by Ken Butigan on ZNet:
We’re so trained in the art and science of retribution that it’s sometimes hard to get a fix on what restorative justice is. I got a clue several years ago when my colleague Cynthia Stateman shared the following story. Cynthia was very close to her Uncle John. He was a doctor in their hometown, and when she was growing up she would often make the rounds with him visiting the sick. He was the town’s first African-American physician, and had built a clinic that served sharecroppers and mill workers. One night, years later, Cynthia got a call from a cousin telling her that her uncle had been killed by a young white man intent on robbing his clinic. The assailant had shoved her 75-year-old uncle against a wall. He fell, gasped for breath — and then suddenly died. The would-be robber phoned 911 but then ran for it, only to be quickly captured. Cynthia immediately flew home to be with her family.
After a death, a time for restorative justice?
An interview with restorative justice advocate, Sujatha Baliga.
Imagine victim and offender sitting across from each other in a small room containing a circle of chairs. There are no bailiffs or guards, just two people, maybe a lawyer and some family members, talking. They discuss ways to right old wrongs that allow both parties to move forward after a crime.
It may sounds like a fantasy, but Sujatha Baliga, who heads the Restorative Justice Project at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, says the practice works, even with the most severe crimes.
Can forgiveness play a role in criminal justice?
….Baliga laid out the ground rules: Campbell would read the charges and summarize the police and sheriff’s reports; next the Grosmaires would speak; then Conor; then the McBrides; and finally Foley, representing the community. No one was to interrupt. Baliga showed a picture of Ann, sticking out her tongue as she looks at the camera. If her parents heard anything Ann wouldn’t like, they would hold up the picture to silence the offending party. Everyone seemed to feel the weight of what was happening. “You could feel her there,” Conor told me.
The healing potential in Circle, life after death and the wisdom of lived experience
....As part of Restorative Response, a program of SCVRJP, the community can request a Circle. Restorative Response is a program to address healing after un-natural death. For example homicide, suicide, traffic fatality, drug-overdose, accidents that might cause a sudden, unexpected loss.
Research & training has taught us that un-natural death includes additional elements to process. This includes 3 “V’s”, the violence, violation and volition. By speaking and listening to one another in Circle, you can begin to let the process of talking about these 3 “V’s”.
I've been amazed at these ‘life after death’ Circles. Hearing each others stories, reduces isolation, increases understanding and promotes peace of heart. I firmly believe: Circles Heal.
Fairness, justice and restoring lives
During a hot summer day, daycare workers removed children from a van, except one — Jazzmin Green. She was two years old. Sixteen-year-old Miesha Ridley was responsible for checking off the names of the children as they were removed. There was a mark next to Jazzmin’s name. An hour passed before anyone noticed she was missing. They found her in the van unconscious — still strapped to her car seat. She died from the heat. Miesha and two adult workers were arrested.
Miesha admitted to voluntary manslaughter — it was time for disposition. Jazzmin’s parents made it clear that anything other than prison for Miesha would be “unfair.” They just buried their child and the pain was eating at them. During the hearing, Mr. Green shared these feelings of unfairness and asked that “justice” be done.
D.C. sniper speaks 10 years after violence: Can restorative justice apply here?
It’s been 10 years since the D.C. sniper took 10 lives and wounded three. The following are two stories (including one audio tape) from Josh White of the Washington Post (September 29, 2012) interviewing Lee Boyd Malvo, the young killer who voluntarily did the bidding of John Allen Muhammad. Malvo and Muhammad went on a killing spree that lasted 23 days in October 2002 terrorizing the victims and their families and all who lived in the D.C. region. As we provide a link to these stories we think of the victims and the victims’ families. We also consider the words of Lee Boyd Malvo who tells his victims “to forget him.” Can restorative justice be applied here? Could the victims or their families choose restorative justice now in this case?
Can’t we just talk this over peacefully?
When one of the Enga commits murder, he must answer to tribal law. Given that this is Papua New Guinea, and that the Enga set great store by the maxim “Do unto others as they do to you”, you might expect that law to involve swift and lethal retribution.
Yet for the past seven years, an experiment has been taking place here that could change that perception. Instead of summary justice, there has been an airing of grievances, a public show of remorse – and the lavish consignment of live pigs to the victim’s family.
How we forgave my son's vicious killer: Parents whose teenage boy was beaten to death by thugs come face-to-face with offenders
In a meeting arranged by the Restorative Justice programme and mediators at the charity CALM (Confidential And Local Mediation), the couple met with two of the three perpetrators responsible for the crime when they came to the end of their sentences.
And in a moment of heart-wrenching humanity that brings tears to the eyes, Ray says that when one of the offenders entered the room, all he wanted to do was hug him.
In sentencing criminals, is Norway too soft? Or are we too harsh?
....“Western Europeans regard 10 or 12 years as an extremely long term, even for offenders sentenced in theory to life,” he said.
Today, there are more than 41,000 people serving life without parole in the United States compared to fifty-nine in Australia, forty-one in England and thirty-seven in the Netherlands. That’s according to a study released this spring, which found that we are “in the minority of countries using several sentencing practices, such as life without parole, consecutive sentences, juvenile life without parole, juvenile transfer to adult courts, and successive prosecution of the same defendant by the state and federal government.”
A different justice: Why Anders Breivik only got 21 years for killing 77 people
from the article by Max Fisher on The Atlantic:
Although Breivik will likely be in prison permanently -- his sentence can be extended -- 21 years really is the norm even for very violent crimes. The much-studied Norwegian system is built on something called restorative justice. Proponents of this system might argue that it emphasizes healing: for the victims, for the society, and, yes, for the criminal him or herself.