- Showing 5 posts filed under: Practice [–] published between Apr 01, 2011 and Apr 30, 2011 [Show all]
The restorative approach in Nova Scotia: A partnership of government, communities and schools
....There is now a significant interest across Nova Scotia to bring the restorative approach to schools. Said Pat Gorham, director of crime prevention for the Nova Scotia Department of Justice, “Our provincial government is trying to find out what the capacity might be for RJ in Nova Scotia, identifying frameworks that might be put into place for schools that want to participate. The work has largely been from the community up. All pilot programs are at the local level, with individual school administrators opting to commit to a restorative approach, supported by regional RJ agencies.”
The Tri-County Restorative Justice agency exemplifies this integration; it handles diversion of police-referred youth, and it founded Bringing Restorative Justice into Schools, the first project to develop a program using restorative approaches within schools in Nova Scotia. This program trains students throughout the province as RJ facilitators.
Justice program rooted in community, not courts
When the South Dakota Supreme Court decided that the court system should take a restorative approach to dealing with crime, it expanded the system's approach from one that focused solely on the offender to one that considered consequences for victims, Horner said.
Until victim's rights legislation was on the books, victims were often pushed into the background.
Since [the Center for Restorative Justice's] creation, the main goal has been to keep the center community-based, rooted with the community and not the court system, Horner said.
"We've worked hard to keep it separate but connected to the court system," Horner said.
Campbelltown Primary School's justice for all sees grades rise and behaviour improve
Deputy principal Graeme Shugg said the effect of restorative practices at Campbelltown was immediate. "Teachers reported change within two weeks in their classes," he said.
"We empower kids to question and take responsibility for what they've done and repair the harm and allow the victim to have a say. The bottom line is, the people involved in the problem are the best people to solve the problem."
Suspensions dropped from 86 in 2003 to just 33 last year. In 2003, students were sent to the principal for discipline 683 times. Last year there were 76 referrals to the office.
Storytelling: Simple but profound
I hesitate to write about storytelling and restorative justice as a lot of people have written about the profound impact of this form of communication. A quick search for the term “storytelling” on Restorative Justice Online returns 29 different entries by people such as Kris Miner and Kay Pranis. Yet, I’ve recently been reminded of how important storytelling can be not only in communication but for an individual processing through pain and loss.
I remember talking with a woman who had lost her son in an automobile accident that involved drunk driving. She expressed a series of emotions ranging from grief to anger to denial. In telling me about the impact of her son’s death, she also described her anger and frustration with the criminal justice system in that her family was denied an opportunity to tell their story. She summed up all this in saying that they deserved the right to have the conference with the young man who had been driving that day. They deserved to be able to tell him how profoundly that one night had changed their lives.
The Salvation Army and restorative justice
from the article in The Dignity Project:
“I will never forget my first brush with injustice” says Matt Delaney. “I was so hurt. I wanted pay back. I wanted to retaliate, to return the favour that I didn’t ask for. I did fight back. Strange though, after I unleashed my vengeance, all I felt was empty and alone. What was wrong with me? Where was the justice I was looking for? Why didn’t I feel justified?