Editorial: The best arena for victim redress?
from the article in the Sage e-bulletin from the Church Council on Justice and Corrections:
Can the justice system ever be the arena for victims’ redress if redress means true healing and moving on from trauma and its effects? A criminal justice system built on punitive measures and adversarial posturing exacerbates the victim wound and creates even more layers of self protection against active resolution of one’s own wounding and the wounding one does to another. Further the judicial system is the state’s arena, not the victim’s, for redress against crimes committed and therefore its capacity to adequately redress victims’ needs where those needs are most required is difficult at best. Victims are left with insufficient avenues to get to the root of needed healing. And incarceration that does not consistently include those rehabilitation options that contribute to victim redress, does not hold real solutions to changing behaviour or creating public and victim safety in the long term.
Many times when I talk to people about crime and justice, the discussion centres on “those offenders” needing to be punished because of what they have done. Even victims are “others” as some want to “protect” them, others want to blame them for what happened and yet other expect them to forgive and get over it. Very rarely do we talk about human beings who have been harmed by crime or who have committed crimes.
Transforming campus culture to prevent rape: The possibility and promise of restorative justice as a response to campus sexual violence
From the article by Alletta Brenner on The Harvard Journal of Law & Gender Blog:
Though feminists have long argued that rape is linked to sex discrimination, legal responses to rape tend to ignore the ways that social and cultural norms contribute to sexual violence. One exception, however, exists in the context of federal anti-discrimination law under Title IX, which applies to colleges and universities that receive federal funds. Under the legal framework established by Title IX, rape constitutes a form of severe sexual harassment, to which educational institutions are legally obligated to respond.An institution’s failure to do so is considered evidence of sex discrimination and may subject it to both federal penalties and civil liability. Recently, this obligation was further strengthened by the passage of legislation that codifies particular aspects of what campus grievance processes for rape survivors must include and requires schools to take affirmative steps to transform campus culture to prevent rape.
Compulsory Mediation within Civil and Criminal Law: Good, Bad, or Just Plain Daft
From the article on ILennon: A Comment on Legal Developments:
...Mediation is a process which carries with it undeniable successes, and which when used in the right circumstances is a altogether good thing, providing access to justice, a speedy and affordable process and a way of resolving disputes in a manner designed to restore and preserve relationships. “In all dispute resolution methods there is always pressure for change”[i], one such change mediation faces is the possibility of being made a compulsory precursor to litigation. This paper takes a short but critical look at the possible outcomes if a statutory requirement meant that mediation become compulsory within Civil and Criminal claims.
Six boys, one cop, and the road to restorative justice
from the article by Molly Rowan Leach:
It’s a warm summer night in Longmont, Colorado, a vibrant midsized city in the Rocky Mountains. On a dare, six young men aged between ten and thirteen years plan to break into a giant chemical processing plant. High levels of alcohol and testosterone, peer pressure and a moonless night propel the group towards the locked gates of the factory, and they break in.
Across town at the Police Department, Officer Greg Ruprecht is about to embark on night patrol. A former Army Captain and top of his class at the Police Academy, Ruprecht believes his job is to arrest everyone who commits a crime and throw away the key. Justice means punishment: an eye for an eye, no questions asked. You do something bad and you get what you deserve. There’s a clear line to walk. But what occurred at the chemical plant that night changed him forever by awakening a very different sensibility: instead of an instrument of vengeance, justice requires that we work to restore all those who have been injured by a crime.
Do not jail thieves and fraudsters, law professor says
From the BBC News UK article:
In a pamphlet released by the Howard League for Penal Reform, Prof Andrew Ashworth said jail should be reserved for offenders who commit crimes of a violent, sexual or threatening nature.
Fines and community sentences would be more effective for others and reduce the prison population in England and Wales by almost 6,000, he said.
But the government said it had "no intention" of changing the law.
Restorative justice: Evidence-based practice or practice in search of evidence
From the Justice Management Institute Blog:
From time to time, we will get a question from our partners about the evidence behind restorative justice: Does research show that it works? Is it an evidence-based practice? I quietly groan a little when I get these questions – not because they are bad questions but because the answers are complex and elusive. In many ways, it feels like I am offering more questions than answers when I do respond. Nonetheless, I decided this week to take on the subject, because it is a growing movement in criminal justice (and juvenile justice) and it can be a promising complement to some of the evidence-based practices that have emerged from the research.
Boyes-Watson: ‘Justice is simply not a spectator sport’
from the article on The Chautauquan Daily:
The criminal justice system is composed of institutions and practices that punish criminal activity. But does it really bring justice to the people it’s meant to protect?
Carolyn Boyes-Watson argues that America’s criminal justice system does not focus on the particular needs of victims and their communities. She proposes a system called “restorative justice,” which would do just that.
What If We Choose To Do It With Love?
Excerpts from the article by Mikhail Lyubansky on Psychology Today:
As social justice activists, we rarely speak of love. Oh, sure, it comes up with close friends and, yes, with loved ones, but rarely in the workplace and rarer still in the context of our activism.
There is good reason. We tend to think of love as an emotion, which of course it is. Emotional love feels good, almost blissful. But it is also fleeting and fickle and, even at its best, somewhat resistant to reason. We love (emotionally) despite whatever logic might exist, not because of it. There is a reason we say that we love with our hearts.
Restorative justice: What's old is new again
....One alternative gaining traction is Restorative Justice (RJ). RJ is a theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by criminal behavior. It is best accomplished when the parties meet face-to-face to establish a plan of accountability and reconciliation. A meaningful RJ effort can transform people, relationships and communities.
RJ views criminal acts more comprehensively-rather than defining crime simply as law breaking; it recognizes that offenders harm victims, communities and even themselves.