- Showing 5 posts filed under: Region: North America and Caribbean [–] published between Feb 01, 2010 and Feb 28, 2010 [Show all]
Giving crime victims the right to meet with their offenders: Virginia legislative developments
by Lisa Rea
Should a crime victim have a right to meet his/her offender? It is very good to see that the Virginia State Legislature is considering the benefits that come with victim offender dialogue and restorative justice programming in general.
"Belinda's Petition" a perfect primer on the subject of reparations
Only 65 pages in length, Belinda's Petition is exactly what it describes itself to be: a concise overview of the long history of struggle to repair the damage wrought by the transatlantic slave trade, making it a perfect primer on the subject of reparations. Winbush begins with the story of the first formal record of a petition for reparations made in the US, which was made in Massachusetts in 1783 by an ex-slave known only as "Belinda". Belinda, who was about 70 years old at this time and had been kidnapped from her home in Ghana before her 12th birthday, petitioned the Massachusetts legislature for the years of unpaid labour for her former slave master. Belinda argued that Isaac Royall--who had since escaped to Nova Scotia--profited from her labour, which entitled her to lay claim to his estate. She won and was granted £15,12 shillings per year payable from the Royall family estate.
From there, Belinda's Petition moves through the different epochs of the reparations movement from the early 15th Century to the present. By correcting misconceptions and exposing myths about the reparations movement, Winbush shines a light on what is arguably the greatest crime against humanity to date.
Ministering to sex offenders
interview by Saul Gonzales for PBS' Religion and Ethics:
GONZALEZ: First started by Canadian churches in the mid 1990s, COSA’s work with sex offenders centers on small discussion circles that meet weekly. In the circles, four to six volunteers from the community are matched with one sex offender, called a core member. In this circle the offender is named John.
JOHN: And I screwed up and I made some bad choices because I become careless and I become complacent, and that is something that anybody that’s in my situation cannot do.
GONZALEZ: The circles are intended to get recently paroled sex offenders to take responsibility for the crimes they’ve committed and provide them material and moral support as they attempt to reenter the community.
JOHN: I can talk about anything, anything.
JOHN: Anything. I told them things about me that I wouldn’t tell my closest friend.
Inside Chowchilla Women's Prison: Locked up, reaching out
Behind the locked doors of the Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla there's a waiting list to join a unique group. It's called the Long Termers Organization (LTO). Prisoners must be discipline free for year before they are accepted.
"We do have remorse for what we have done, we are taking responsibility and we are doing our best to give back what we have taken away," Inmate Charlann Geronimo said.
"It means a lot to the victim. It's the beginning of the healing process when the offender takes accountability for their actions and offers some type of remorse," Tina Figueroa with Madera County Victim Services said.
Anti-crime bills deserved to die in Canada
The editorial on prorogation (Jan. 5) mentions that among the bills that died with this parliamentary session were many parts of "Harper's tough on crime agenda."
This is the one good result of prorogation as these bills contained very bad criminal law.
Stephen Harper is not "tough on crime"-- he is soft in the head on crime, preferring to build more prisons -- the most expensive, least effective form of influencing behaviour -- instead of investing in preventive measures, such as early childhood care and education, and the alleviation of poverty.