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Restorative Dialogue

What happens during restorative processes? These articles discuss victim offender mediation, conferencing, circles and other processes.

Boyes-Watson, Carolyn. Seeds of Change: Using Peacemaking Circles to Build a Village for Every Child
Roca, Inc., a grassroots human development and community organization, has adopted the peacemaking circle as a tool in its relationship building with youth, communities, and formal systems. Circles are a method of communication derived from aboriginal and native traditions. In Massachusetts, the Department of Social Services and the Department of Youth Services are exploring the application of the circle in programming with youth and families. By providing a consistent structure for open, democratic communication, peacemaking circles enhance the formation of positive relationships in families, communities, and systems. The outcome is a stronger community with greater unity across truly diverse participants. This article presents the theory and practice of peacemaking circles, the lessons and challenges of implementing circles in formal organizations, and the potential of the circle to support a strengths-based and community-based approach to child welfare. Author's abstract.
Claassen, Ron. "What Is Forgiveness?"
This is one in a series of papers on basic principles of restorative justice. Claassen claims that the biblical notion of forgiveness, which is a process, involves three key elements: recognizing the injustice (confession); restoring the equity (atonement); and clarifying future intentions (repentance).
Friesen, Krista. Beyond punishment: Moving towards the application of conciliatory justice in the Canadian context.
Contending that the conventional criminal justice system inadequately deals with the results of crime, and even adds to the damage inflicted by crime, Friesen urges an alternative system of justice. In contrast to what she sees as the adversarial, retributive character of conventional justice, she proposes restorative justice as a better alternative. Friesen sketches theoretical underpinnings for both conventional criminal justice and restorative justice. Her emphasis is on facilitated discussion or mediation between victim and offender. As examples she looks at truth and reconciliation commissions in response to violence in various countries. Her aim is to develop a model of mediation that can be applied successfully in a Canadian context.
John Braithwaite video introduction to restorative justice
John Braithwaite is a leader in restorative justice (and in many other fields). He teaches at Australian National University which has now posted an 18 minute video in which he explains the basic theories and applications of restorative justice. It is well done, and is presented in segments, which means it can be used in whole or in part.
Kuzelewski, Dariusz. Victim-offender mediation: an institution of the postindustrial society
Victim – offender mediation has a chance to adapt criminal trial to the reality of the third wave civilization.
McRae, Jill. The Razor's Edge: Fostering Adaptive Change in Restorative Justice
This paper draws on my involvement in a form of restorative justice that entails conferences for juvenile offenders. Thanks to an appointment as a convenor, it is my job to organise and to run conferences where young offenders make a full and frank apology. They do this in the presence of the victim, the victim's family, and their own. In this paper, I look in detail at the responsibilities of leadership before and during the conference. In particular, the paper explores the character of authority, both formal and informal, notably at how these provide discrete frameworks of support, each with its own rules and purpose. I note that it is under the rubric of informal authority, for example, that stakeholders undertake the difficult work of changing their mindset. They bring to the conference certain expectations, some ill placed because they are predicated on a inappropriate dependency. I look at how convenors might identify the real nature of the adaptive challenges faced by stakeholders -be they victims, offenders or respective families -by taking particular note of avoidance and what it signifies. I look at dependencies that are appropriate, and those that are not. All stakeholders bring expectations, some that are doomed to remain unmet, some met in other ways. I look at how the matrix linking convenor and informal authority makes it possible to choose which expectations might appropriately be met, and how, as well as those we are better advised to disappoint, or re-direct. The paper notices how important it is for those with the role of leader and facilitator to allocate time and opportunity within due process, for it is when new learning takes place that we change for the better. Furthermore, the paper looks at how stakeholders adapt to the demands of the conference in a way that encourages them to be intact and more capable. Listening to others tell their story is a chance to re-evaluate, most notably feelings and attitudes. (excerpt)
Menkel-Meadow, Carrie J. Remembrance of Things Past? The Relationship of Past to Future in Pursuing Justice in Mediation
Often, much of the emphasis in mediation and conflict resolution focuses on moving forward, on future-oriented thinking and feeling. However, asks Carrie Menkel-Meadow, what must be remembered and acknowledged before people or parties in conflict can move forward to create a future together? Similarly, to borrow from Avishai Margalit, is there an ethics of memory? Menkel-Meadow expresses her concern about the role of the past in achieving justice in conflicts such as divorce, commerce, employment, crime, and more. Hence, in this article she seeks to explore some of the issues and tensions in the role of temporality in achieving justice through meditative processes.
Reesor-Taylor, Rachel. Anselm's Cur Deus Homo for a Peace Theology: On the Compatibility of Non-Violence and Sacrificial Atonement
Anselm's insistence upon human participation, and on satisfaction are very congenial to certain emphases of a Peace Theology, namely, discipleship and restorative justice.
Review: Emotions, Crime and Justice
from the review by Susan A. Bandes on Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books: Emotions, Crime and Justice is a major step toward a more theoretically and practically nuanced conversation. As this book reveals in a series of original essays of great range, depth and sophistication, criminology has much to gain by investigating the emotions underlying crime and punishment. The collection spans a range of theoretical, ethnographic and experimental approaches, a range of criminal justice institutions and roles, and a range of cultures (indeed, for many U.S. readers, one of the pleasures of this volume will be the opportunity to become immersed in the criminology literature of the U.K., Australia and New Zealand; all but four of the twenty-two contributors are from non U.S. common law countries). Perhaps its greatest strength lies in the range of emotional experience it reveals and explores, including the emotions that accompany violence and that animate attitudes toward crime, the emotional experience of obeying or resisting the law, the implicit rules governing the display or feeling of emotions by employees of police departments or prisons, the emotional roots of collective violence and collective reconciliation, and the moral sentiments and public emotions animating democratic discourse on crime and punishment.
Sanchez, Gabriel Gomez. Between Reconciliation and Justice: The Struggles for Justice and Reconciliation in Colombia.
Over the past decades, Colombian society has endured the impact of a longstanding political conflict among different actors and outrageous expressions of violence, especially among left wing guerrillas, right wing paramilitary groups and the state government. Drawing on socio-legal studies in transitional justice and human rights, this research attempts to analyze the recent experience of transitional justice in Colombia. The main purpose of this research is to understand how political, institutional and social actors, especially the government, the courts, the human rights and transitional justice NGOs, and victims associations, frame the mechanisms of transitional justice and use legal instruments to transform the conflict and reach what they consider "justice." It also attempts to understand the relations between politics and law in the context of a hegemonic discourse of security and give account of the expressions of resistance of human rights networks. (Excerpt).
Sawatsky, Jarem.. A JustPeace Ethic- dancing our way back to humanity: Finding the creative space where conflict transformation and restorative justice meet together.
In this paper, Sawatsky investigates the relationships between restorative justice and conflict transformation, with particular reference to their values and guiding principles. Finding significant commonality between them, he contrasts the values and principles of restorative justice and conflict transformation with modern enlightenment philosophy. His purpose is to weave those values and principles into a 'JustPeace Ethic.' In the first part of the paper, he focuses on basic tenets of enlightenment philosophy in relation to restorative justice and conflict transformation. In the second part he seeks to develop the guiding principles of a 'JustPeace Ethic' with an emphasis on shalom.
Umbreit, Mark S and Burns, Heather. Humanistic Mediation: Peacemaking Grounded in Core Social Work Values
Conflict between individuals and groups can be highly toxic and destructive, write Mark Umbreit and Heather Burns. Yet if addressed effectively, conflict can spur interpersonal and organizational growth and renewal. In that conflict between individuals and groups can often be addressed effectively with the aid of an impartial third party, social workers skilled in mediation are increasingly being called upon to provide this service in a variety of settings. In this paper Umbreit and Burns seek an approach to mediation grounded in social work theory and practice rather than in legal principles and processes. They term this humanistic mediation. They connect the client-centered, dialogue-driven practice of humanistic mediation with the transformative or healing aspects of social work practice.
Warner Roberts, Annie. Is Restorative Justice Tied to Specific Models of Practice?
The restorative justice movement has expanded significantly since its informal beginnings in victim-offender reconciliation programs in Canada in the 1970s. As Ann Warner Roberts observes, this growth has led to increasing and almost bewildering numbers and varieties of techniques, models, practices, frameworks, and theories. While it arose in and was targeted toward the sphere of criminal justice, many have sought to expand it beyond criminal justice into justice for families, schools, neighborhoods, communities, and even countries. Roberts acknowledges that this growth in restorative justice is positive. Nevertheless, she also perceives a cost to the proliferation of ideas and practices – namely, restorative justice has become extremely amorphous. She fears that the core of restorative justice – “restorative dialogueâ€? between victims and offenders, with its underlying principles and values – is at risk of being marginalized. Hence, she sketches this one specific model of practice with which restorative justice began, traces the proliferation of ideas and models, and reemphasizes the centrality of restorative dialogue (with some variations) for restorative justice.
What is justice? State program brings victims and offenders face to face
Martha Early, a middle-aged single mother, and Andrew Papke, the chaplain's assistant, sit silently across from each other in the chapel, their hands clasped tightly across a wooden table. To Early's right sits a stack of pictures of her daughter Beth, killed -- along with her boyfriend, Daniel London -- by a teenage drunken driver in 1996. In front of her sits a well-worn binder bursting with colorful stationery and letters full of memories of Beth; she brought them to share with Andrew. Next to the binder is her Bible. Early gazes at Papke with a look of calm sadness, while Papke's head hangs solemnly. Seconds turn into minutes, and neither one moves. It seems as if the slightest murmur would send them back to earth, where they will be forced to communicate with words. Finally, Early squeezes Papke's hand. "I love you, Andrew," she whispers. "I love you, too," he answers hoarsely. Within moments, Papke's arms -- the very same arms that steered a car headlong into Beth Early -- are encircling her mother. After engaging in a brief hug, Martha Early gets ready to begin her three-hour drive back to Austin. Andrew returns to his prison cell at the Walls Unit in Huntsville, where he is serving 40 years for intoxication manslaughter.
Zehr, Howard. Journey to belonging
Howard Zehr in this paper explores what he calls the 'journey to belonging' for both victims of crime and offenders. He acknowledges that some may find it problematic and even offensive to address both 'journeys' at the same time, especially to the extent that it suggests there might be parallels or even intersections in the situations of and transitions for victims and offenders. Nevertheless, he believes both victims and offenders are on a journey, or a continuum, of life changes colored by crime and its aftermath. Underlying his topic and title ('Journey to Belonging') is the notion that alienation, belonging, and identity are central issues for victims and offenders in the wake of crime. Moreover, through the course of his paper, Zehr frames his exploration of these issues through the lenses of tragedy and trauma, experiences which encompass and yet go beyond what we normally refer to when we speak of crime and its effects.
“Humanistic” mediation: Another approach to manage and settle disputes?
from the entry by Christophe Imhoos on Kluwer Mediation Blog: ....Greek tragedy tends to express human pain and grief. So does mediation in a post-modern world that rejects feelings and emotions. Today politic does not address human needs: people move from an established to a negotiated order. This can be expressed through a ritualized practice, inspired from Greek tragedy that comprises the three following phases:

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