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The Potential of Restorative Justice

What kind of role might restorative justice play in the future?

Mirchandani, Rekha. Beyond Therapy: Problem-Solving Courts and the Deliberative Democratic State
The article describes the phenomenon of problem-solving courts and summarizes some of the Foucalt-derived criticism leveled against them. The author appropriates some of the criticism but then modifies it, proposing theoretical readjustments in orientation that develop the scope of problem-solving courts.
County team begins to tackle racial disparities in criminal justice
from Steven Elbow's article in the CapTimes: We've heard a lot of talk about the staggering racial disparities in the state's criminal justice system in recent years. Wisconsin has routinely ranked at or near the top of states for the rate at which it locks up blacks compared with whites. And Dane County's progressive reputation has been tarnished by the rate at which it sends black offenders to prison - nearly half of black men between the ages of 25 and 29 residing in the county are either incarcerated or under court-ordered supervision. According to a study by Pam Oliver, a UW sociology professor, black men in Dane County are 21 times more likely to be incarcerated than white men. And according to a Justice Policy Institute report in 2007, black men in Dane County were 97 times more likely to be incarcerated for drug crimes, the second-highest rate in the nation. A team from Dane County will take on the daunting task of tackling that problem, meeting for the first time on Monday. It will be their job to take recommendations released last fall by the Dane County Task Force on Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System and make them work.
Cornwell, David J. The Penal Crisis and The Clapham Omnibus: Questions and Answers in Resotrative Justice.
The title selected for this volume, The Penal Crisis and the Clapham Omnibus: Questions and Answers in Restorative Justice, represents a deliberate attempt to bring together and discuss issues that critically affect the development of restorative justice as a mainstream penology for the future. Each of the three parts of this book consists of five chapters, the titles of which take the form of questions that are central to an understanding of the present penal crisis in England and Wales, its development and effects, and the way in which a restorative penology might assist in resolving the difficulties engulfing the penal system. (excerpt)
Daly, Kathleen. Seeking Justice in the 21st Century: Towards an Intersectional Politics of Justice
After setting the political and personal contexts, defining key terms, and comparing Indigenous and restorative justice, I clarify three interrelated sites of contestation between and among feminist and anti-racist groups as these relate to alternative justice practices. They are the inequality caused by crime (victims and offenders), social divisions (race and gender politics), and individuals and collectivities (rights of offenders and victims). I outline an intersectional politics of justice, which seeks to address the conflicts at each site. My intersectional framework attempts to align victims’ and offenders’ interests in ways that are not a zero sum game, and to find common ground between feminist and anti-racist justice claims by identifying the negotiating moves each must make. It proposes that victims and offenders have positive rights that are not compromised by collectivities. (author's abstract)
Johnstone, Gerry. Restorative Justice: Ideas, Values, Debates. (Second Edition).
Restorative Justice: Ideas, Values, Debates, provides a concise but informative introduction to the fundamental ideas of restorative justice and the many arguments surrounding the movement. Although not a detailed history or explanation of theory, the book offers an informative and clear look at the restorative justice movement, its opposing arguments, and its possibilities for the future. This second edition keeps the original text almost intact, with only some minor revisions, but with an additional chapter (chapter 9), which looks at developments in the campaign for restorative justice over the last decade. (Excerpt).
Therapeutic jurisprudence, restorative justice and brushfire arson
from Michael King's entry on Cutting Edge Law Blog: Last Thursday and Friday at the Monash University Conference Centre in Melbourne I took part in a symposium organised by Monash Sustainability Institute, the Australian Institute of Criminology and others about preventing bush fires.... A key feature of the symposium was its multi-disciplinary approach – professionals from the fire services, police, psychology, corrections, criminology and the law explored the different aspects of the motivations behind, detection and investigations into and prosecution and sentencing in relation to bush fire arson. Identifying potential arsonists and greater community education were other matters considered at the symposium.
Mediating criminal matters in the Ethiopian criminal justice system: The prospect of restorative justice
from the article by Jetu Edossa in Oromia Law Journal: In Ethiopia, the use of mediation process as a traditional method of dispute resolution has been practiced for centuries. Even today in rural areas, particularly criminal dispute resolution processes dealing with victims and criminal offenders are widely practiced and deep rooted with varying degrees among the different ethnic groups in the country. For instance, the use of mediation process through Jaarsaa Biyya or Jaarsaa Araara among the Oromo and the other ethnic groups has been used.
Duality or trinity, scales or circles: What approach for justice in a new generation?
. Restorative Boards of Inquiry: Fostering dignity and respectful, responsible relationships. Draft framework and procedures.
Relationships in conflict sometimes result in allegations of discrimination, triggering a complaint under the Nova Scotia Human Right Act. 1 This complaint creates an opportunity to address individual conflicts and to examine a) the larger societal influences on the conflict and b) how these influences impact the systems we set up to relate to each other. The restorative board of inquiry model, outlined here, seeks to foster respectful, equal, 2 and responsible relationships as it addresses complaints. These objectives are met by parties involved being empowered to work collaboratively. Some of the benefits of the restorative approach are: emotional closure, the process creates reduced conflict between the parties thereby lessening harms throughout the process of resolving the complaint, a better opportunity to have the other party meaningfully understand one’s harm, a greater possibility of the other party meaningfully taking responsibility for the harm, as appropriate. A restorative board of inquiry necessarily considers the public interest by its inclusion of community members in participation circles and the inquiry. (excerpt)
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.
. Is the ICC making the most of victim participation?
Fifteen years after the adoption of the Rome Statute, which was the first instrument to recognize victims’ right to participate in international criminal proceedings, the article examines the International Criminal Court’s practice regarding the implementation of that right. The authors investigate the rationale for victim participation in criminal proceedings from the optic of a restorative justice approach and submit that improved participation would benefit both victims and the Court. The article offers a critical assessment of the Court’s practice to determine whether it has lived up to its restorative justice mandate.
. Everything you always wanted know about restorative justice (But were afraid to ask).
Trusting, therefore, that the irony of the title carries through, this thesis obviously does not contain everything the reader would like to know about restorative justice. I have indeed done some weeding out. First and foremost, this thesis is not about restorative justice as a way of life, nor is it about conflict resolution in the schoolyard, at the workplace or elsewhere. My focus is on restorative justice as it is used in relation to crime, primarily in the context of domestic jurisdictions (cf. chapters 2-4 and 7) but also in the context of international crime (cf. chapters 5 and 6). (excerpt)
. More than words: Restorative justice concepts in transitional justice settings.
Th is article considers the applicability of restorative justice literature in the transitional justice arena. Th e authors argue that while restorative justice is applied to a wide range of confl icts, the established literature is often of limited value within a transitional context. Insuffi cient attention is often paid to the inherent diffi culties in importing theories, concepts and practices designed for the context of ‘settled’ societies into post-confl ict environments. Signifi cantly more consideration needs to be given to the practical operation of transitional justice mechanisms, as well as their underlying normative bases, so that they might live up to the claims of many commentators that transitional justice is ‘restorative’. (author's abstract)
. Dangerous liaisons?: A feminist and restorative approach to sexual assault.
The appropriateness of restorative justice (RJ) for gendered violence offences such as domestic violence and sexual assault has always been and still is highly contested. This paper focuses on the appropriateness of RJ measures in addressing sexual assault, primarily with reference to experience of restorative dialogues as practiced at the Centre for Victims of Sexual Assault in Copenhagen, and it takes a feminist approach to the application of RJ measures to sexual assault. Within this framework, the paper tackles two issues in particular: the privacy element of RJ versus the public aspect of the criminal justice system (CJS), and the intersection of the CJS and RJ in cases of sexual assault. In relation to the relationship between CJS and RJ, the authors argue that RJ could be used for victims of sexual assault, not primarily as part of diversion programmes, but when offered apart from and/or parallel to the CJS. In relation to the private/public debate, the authors argue that while RJ encounters, by taking place in highly confidential settings, might have a negative impact on efforts by women’s movements to move violence against women out of the private and into the public realm, creating high standard alternatives for individual women who are in need of support and constantly generating public debate about gendered violence is a good feminist response to this complex issue. (author's abstract)
. Community justice concept paper: A project of the Cook County Juvenile Justice Taskforce.
This paper presents a vision for community-based, trauma-informed, restorative solutions to youth crime and conflict in Cook County. It was written for young Chicagoans across the county who deserve a better system, as well as their parents, families, and communities. It was also written for other key stakeholders who wish to support new approaches to neighborhood safety, for the judges, youth workers, executive directors, block club members, police officers and family leaders who dedicate their lives to making our communities more peaceful for all. We have divided the paper into two sections: 1) Reinvesting Our Efforts, and 2) Building a New Paradigm. In the first section we outline some of the main limitations of Cook County’s current juvenile justice system and introduce our guiding thoughts on how the juvenile justice system can better support young people, while making our communities safer places to live. In this section we call for a one-to-one replacement of the dollars that are saved by reducing the population of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (CCJTDC), whereby those funds are reinvested in the communities with the greatest need for supportive services. In the next section, we lay out a concrete proposal for alternatives to our present approach of centralized juvenile detention, an approach that is totally divorced from family and community supports. We propose the creation of ‘Restorative Justice Hubs’ across Cook County, community centers that can holistically address the needs of young people who perpetrate crimes, while also supporting community residents and victims of crime. Crucially, these hubs will serve as catalysts for community healing around the intergenerational cycles of individual and systemic traumas that all too often shape family and community life. (excerpt)
Ball, Jennifer and Caldwell, Wayne and Pranis, Kay. Doing Democracy With Circles
In this book, we explore the potentials for using Circles to solve the multifaceted and often intensely emotional problems that public planers face on a regular basis. We have written this book specifically for the planning practitioner, the student of planning, and the community member who seeks better public decisions. Yet, it is also true that much of the information that we offer about Circles and how to adapt them to problem-solving may be useful to those who want to apply Circles for other purposes as well. (Excerpt)
Exhaustive mental-health strategy needs big cash boost to address crisis
from the article by Sharon Kirkey in the Leader-Post: The nation's first mental health strategy is calling for an overhaul of a system it calls so fractured and underfunded that it's turning prisons and jails into the "asylums of the 21st century" and leading many community service groups to drop waiting lists to avoid giving people false hope that "eventually their turn will come." The strategy from the Mental Health Commission of Canada calls for spending on mental health to increase from seven to nine per cent of total health spending over 10 years, an increase of $34 billion. According to the commission, the economic impact of mental illness on Canada's economy is "enormous" - at least $50 billion annually.
Schroeder, Ainslie. Mediating Sexual Assault: Justice for Victims Within and Beyond the Criminal Justice System.
Restorative justice measures, such as victim-offender mediation and family group conferencing, have been touted as bringing a richer and more lasting justice to all parties involved—victims, offenders, family members and the community alike. Significant concerns exist, however, regarding the appropriateness of applying restorative justice to gendered violence, both because of doubts that restorative methods can benefit victims in this context and because of the perceived incompatibility of restorative justice with the women’s movement goal of establishing violence against women as a serious public criminal law issue. This paper will focus on both the appropriateness and efficacy of restorative justice measures in addressing sexual assault and on the proper forum in which it should occur. I conclude that restorative justice for victims of sexual assault has demonstrable benefits for victims and offenders, benefits that could reach more parties if offered completely apart from the criminal justice system. While restorative justice measures will have some negative impact on efforts to keep violence against women in the public eye, its demonstrated benefits would likely exceed any detrimental effect. Generating options for women who are ill-served by the current system and in need of help is the best feminist response to this very difficult issue. (excerpt)
Cavallaro, James L.. Looking Backward to Address the Future? Transitional Justice, Rising Crime, and Nation-Building
The author proposes that the greatest threat to internal stability is not terrorism but non-political violent crime or so-called "street violence." He argues then that nations in the state of transition to democracy ought to spend more of their resources developing measures that cope with an increase in street violence rather than on focusing solely on redressing the institutionalized violence of the previous government.
Social work and restorative justice
from Howard Zehr's entry on Restorative Justice Blog Social Work and Restorative Justice: Skills for Dialogue, Peacemaking and Reconciliation, edited by Elizabeth Beck, Nancy P. Kropf and Pamela Blume-Leonard (Oxford University Press, 2011), is an important collection of essays on this subject. It will be of interest to both social work and restorative justice practitioners. The following is the Afterward that Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz and I were invited to contribute: The field that has come to be known as restorative justice was born in experiment and practice rather than theory; the term “restorative justice” and the conceptual framework came later. Although it did not directly emerge from the field of social work, restorative justice was born in a context and era much influenced by social work. It is appropriate, then, that the fields of restorative justice and social work are again converging, as the authors in this volume so convincingly argue....

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