- Showing 10 posts published between Sep 01, 2009 and Sep 30, 2009 [Show all]
Go to prison
Last week I had the honor of joining my colleague Janine Geske on her regular journey to Green Bay Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison reminiscent of the prison in Shawshank Redemption. The prisoners at Green Bay run the gamut of serious crimes from sexual assault to drug distribution to armed robbery to homicide. Janine runs a three-day session on restorative justice, meeting with about twenty prisoners as part of a several-month program on the challenges and possibilities faced by these men. She has been running this program here for years as part of our Restorative Justice Initiative, and I was so excited to finally fit this in my schedule. Having done this trip last week and then spent the past weekend in services for Rosh Hashanah, I have had plenty of time to reflect on crime, punishment, repentance, and redemption. In retrospect, I don’t know that I could have timed this better. Suffice it to say, the experience was amazing.
Sex offender project in limbo amid funding flap
But a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said Monday that no decisions have been made.
Andrew McWhinnie, head of Circles of Support and Accountability, said he was personally informed of the rejection last Friday by Robert Cormier of the National Crime Prevention Centre, which falls under Van Loan's ministry.
It's the first time the circles program, a Canadian community-based group that has been copied internationally, has sought major federal funds.
No more taking sides
From NPR's Speaking of Faith:
Robi Damelin lost her son David to a Palestinian sniper. Ali Abu Awwad lost his older brother Yousef to an Israeli soldier. But, instead of clinging to traditional ideologies and turning their pain into more violence, they've decided to understand the other side — Israeli and Palestinian — by sharing their pain and their humanity. They tell of a gathering network of survivors who share their grief, their stories of loved ones, and their ideas for lasting peace. They don't want to be right; they want to be honest.
Sep 29, 2009 National Reconciliation
Healing through victim offender mediation
Back in 2001 a young teenager, whose real name is not David, joined his friend in a robbery. While a family in their neighborhood was away, they broke in and stole a coin collection, an old watch, and other items that David and his friend could fence for cash. The plan went off without a hitch, except that David and his friend were arrested when law officers linked them to the crime. David qualified for a community mediation program between victims and offenders that he agreed to participate in.
Sep 29, 2009 Story
Let's talk about global exploitation
It seems that most people I dialogue with about this reality agree that conditions such as Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE), the CSE of children, human trafficking, and debt bondage, are intolerable; yet, these and so many other atrocities persist and even flourish at the global level. All types of organizations exist that are dealing with the different types of global exploitation, some may have specific focus on certain types of exploitation or certain areas of the world while others may deal with the problem more broadly. What is clear in all aspects of this type of work is that it requires you to be involved. Oftentimes, people start hearing the stories of survivors, understanding the secrets behind the trades, and realizing how horrific the reality of global exploitation really is, and it just becomes overwhelming, so overwhelming that paralysis hits and no action is taken, especially when it sinks in just how close to home it can hit. It should make you angry, even sad, but we want to channel that emotion into action not paralysis.
Why restorative justice?
In our Western culture, there is a tendency to automatically equate justice to punishment, but is it accurate to consider this notion universal? An even bigger question is, is this kind of definition for justice ultimately beneficial to communities affected by conflict?
AFJN believes that although people who use violence and warfare should be held accountable for their actions in order for justice to be achieved, justice is also locally defined and locally driven. Justice in the court does not result in justice in the community. How can we help bring about justice between individuals and groups once perceived as enemies? How do we help rebuild trust and relationships after pain and trauma? AFJN believes that restorative justice is an essential component to building peace, and this is why restorative justice is one of our focus campaigns.
Putting a face to a crime
I recently wrote on graffiti vandalism in Los Angeles and how restorative justice could be applied to this problem. What I didn't know at the time was that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill here in California related to this problem in 2008. That bill, authored by Assemblyman Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles), required that convicted graffiti offenders clean up the mess they created and for one year keep it clean. This reflects restorative justice in that the punishment fits the crime. The governor was right.
Dignity in schools: an unexcused absence
“A school should not feel like a prison. A school should feel positive, safe and welcoming. A school should feel like a second home. As I walk through the doors of my school, I want to be treated with dignity.” These are the words of Vernard Carter, a rising 10th grade Rethinker at a well-attended press conference held July 23, 2009.
The Rethinkers – or Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools – know how to zero in on the basics. First (in 2007 and 2008) they tackled bathrooms and lunches, with marked success, and now they are addressing safety and dignity. What could be more basic?
A handful of school resources, addressing harm in schools, restoratively
Book Review: The penal crisis and the Clapham Omnibus: Questions and answers in restorative justice.
253 pp. ISBN 978 1 9043 8047 4
There has always been a temptation to regard restorative justice as an accessory to the conventional process, in which less serious cases may be diverted out of the system, but for more serious ones a restorative process is only available as an addition to punishment.
After two books explaining the theoretical and political case for restorative justice (Cornwell 2006, 2007), the author has drawn up a proposal for basing the whole system on restorative principles. His book is structured in three sections of five chapters, each addressing one of the questions which the ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’ (the lawyer’s stereotype of the ordinary person) would want answered.