Restorative justice process 'success'
from the article in Otago Daily Times:
North Otago victims of crime are getting more say in a restorative justice process that has been hailed ''a North Otago success story''.
Restorative justice conferences are only one element administered and organised by the Waitaki Safer Community Trust to ensure victims get ''an effective and strong voice'' in the court process, particularly to ''make things right'', former trust chairwoman Elizabeth McCone said last week.
Trench democracy in criminal justice: An interview with Lauren Abramson
from the article by Albert W. Dzur on Boston Review:
...Lauren Abramson: We define “community” as the community of people who have been affected by and involved in the conflict or the crime. Everybody who’s involved in or affected by the situation, and their respective supporters, is included. We make the circle as wide as possible. Thus, conferences usually include between ten and forty people. The Streeper Street neighborhood conflict had been going on for two years and forty-four people attended. Conferences are always about engaging the entire community of people affected by whatever’s going on and giving them the power to try to fix it.
Restorative justice conferencing (RJC) using face-to-face meetings of offenders and victims: Effects on offender recidivism and victim satisfaction. A systematic review.
from the report by Heather Strang, et. al.:
This systematic review examines the effects of the subset of restorative justice programs that has been tested most extensively: a face-to-face Restorative Justice Conference (RJC) “that brings together offenders, their victims, and their respective kin and communities, in order to decide what the offender should do to repair the harm that a crime has caused” (Sherman and Strang, 2012: 216). The Review investigates the effects of RJCs on offenders’ subsequent convictions (or in one case arrests) for crime, and on several measures of victim impact. The review considers only randomized controlled trials in which victim and offenders consented to meet prior to random assignment, the analysis of which was based on the results of an “intention-to-treat” analysis. A total of ten experiments with recidivism outcomes were found that met the eligibility criteria, all of which also had at least one victim impact measure.
Real-life stories: Property damage
Central Virginia Restorative Justice provides the following vignette of restorative conference in a property damage case as one way of explaining restorative justice.
A young teenager sits at a round table in our office alongside his mother, his little brother, and Restorative Justice staff members. The room is quiet as he stares intently into the light grey surface of the table, searching for an explanation for why he and some friends had spent an evening throwing large rocks at cars from a hiding spot beside a busy road. This young man isn’t deliberating over his words because he hopes to charm the staff with the answer he thinks they want to hear, and he certainly isn’t putting such energy into a bored shrug and an “I dunno.”
Gwent police officer tackles crime by bringing criminals face-to-face with their victims
From the article on WalesOnline:
A police officer is tackling crime in a different way – by bringing criminals face to face with their victims.
PC Hayley Nowell became part of the team at Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly Youth Offending Service (YOS) last year to work on a restorative justice programme.
It involves victims of crime meeting the offenders to explain the effect their actions have had.
PC Nowell described the tactic as “powerful” and said it has proven results in reducing repeat offending.
Cameroon: Rights promoters advocate restorative justice
from the article on AllAfrica.com:
Experts on October 5 worked on the framework for effective restorative justice in Cameroon. "Restorative justice is a process where all stakeholders affected by a crime-that is, the offender, the victim, and their community are given the opportunity to discuss how they have been affected and to decide what should be done to repair the harm caused," the Chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms, Dr Divine Chemuta Banda said in Yaounde on October 5, 2012 while opening the one-day seminar on restorative justice in Cameroon. He added that it comes to complement the traditional justice system.
As a facilitator, I occasionally face situations that give me pause. Do I really want to facilitate this case? Am I competent to facilitate such a case? There are times I walk into the situation with real concerns and doubts, but simply have to trust the process.
Restorative Justice in the Greater Manchester Police
....The first of the five aims, to reduce crime, is an area where GMP has had significant success in recent years. A key part of the crime reduction strategy is to “make more use of Restorative Justice to give victims the opportunity to challenge offenders and make them understand the consequences of their behaviour”. In a criminal Justice context, victims are given the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime, to get answers and to get an apology. This helps offenders understand the real impact of what they’ve done and holds them to account for it while also helping victims to get on with their lives.
To some extent, RJ runs counter to the culture that developed within police forces in response to central government targets because it can adversely affect the statistics traditionally used to assess police performance. Performance was measured against targets such as the numbers of sanctioned detections (where an offender is charged, cautioned, reported for summons, reprimanded, the offence is taken into consideration or where a fixed penalty notice is issued), the numbers of stop and search events and numbers of arrests. The last of these central government policing targets was removed in 2010.
Review: Restorative justice in practice: Evaluating what works for victims and offenders.
by Eric Assur
Three British criminology researchers and educators, affiliated with the University of Sheffield, have offered a very rich book on the use of victim-offender mediation programs (what they call schemes) in adult criminal justice venues in England.
Most early Restorative Justice (RJ) writing has focused on juvenile justice programs, generally with a concentration on diversionary approaches for first time offenders. The Shapland, Robinson and Sorsby book looks exclusively and intensely at three ‘schemes’ and several hundred ‘cases’ involving adults. The criminal justice programs they studied were funded by the British Ministry of Justice – Home Office between 2001 and 2008. They worked with adults at arrest, while going through the courts and even with some while imprisoned.
Restorative practices in Hungary: An ex-prisoner is reintegrated into the community
from the article by Vidia Negrea:
As the representative of Community Service Foundation of Hungary, the Hungarian affiliate of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), I participated in a group session of the Hungarian Crime Prevention and Prison Mission Foundation in summer 2009 (Sycamore Tree Project — or Zacchaeus Program in Hungary). There I met the governor of Balassagyarmat prison, where inmates were working in groups on issues related to their crimes and exploring ways to repair relationships they had damaged.
Some inmates began accepting responsibility for what they had done and were motivated to make things right and earn forgiveness of victims and their families. Prisoners made symbolic reparation in the form of community service within the prison, but there was still a lot to do to create opportunities for offenders to make contact with victims and shed the stigma of their offense by means of direct reparation. Also, prison management believed it important to support processes, acceptable to victimized families and communities, to help prisoners regain control of their lives and prevent reoffending.