- Showing 10 posts filed under: Practice [–] published between Dec 01, 2009 and Dec 31, 2009 [Show all]
Response to the (UK) Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Antisocial Behaviour
Note: The Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Antisocial Behaviour was formed in the UK to seek:
...ways to reduce the damage that children and young people who take part in antisocial and criminal acts can cause to victims, to neighbourhoods and to themselves. In inviting views on how this should be done, we acknowledge the emotional and social harm as well as the financial costs that can result from such behaviour.
We are looking for ways of responding to youth crime and antisocial behaviour that are more clearly principled, as well as fair, humane and more cost-effective than those presently in place. We anticipate that such a system would not only meet the needs of children, families and the wider community more effectively, but also – through its grounding in agreed principles – prove politically sustainable.
Here are portions of Dr. Martin Wright's comments on a consultation paper released by the Commission for discussion. The full document is available below.
Restorative justice talking circles: The simplest of questions can connect us
I came up with the “getting acquainted” question off the top of my head. I asked what winter clothing item, do you most enjoy wearing. It was the last class of the semester so about the 16th Circle for this group. I was impressed and struck by how connected we became over articles of clothing.
A student just a few seats to my right, turned up his jeans at the ankle, and talked about loving his flannel jeans. Of course I thought how I always wanted to get a pair of those. The talking piece was across the Circle, another student, made comment to his peer across the Circle ” . . . me, too” and showed the flannel lining of his jeans.
Someone else talked about loving mittens that divide your fingers on the inside. I connected with that. It was really fun a round of answers to listen to.
A recent evaluation form had the feedback that what the person liked least was “too much fluff at the begining, unnecessary”. I thought about that Circle, and I know I spent some time getting all 22 people feeling comfortable. I do feel the stages are structured to get us prepared for the tougher questions.
Mercy urged for child charged in Jakarta murder
The National Commission for Child Protection on Wednesday said it was working hard to save a 10-year-old boy, suspected of having stabbed and beaten his adoptive mother to death, from serving up to 15 years in jail.
East Jakarta Police investigators have said the child, who is originally from Nias and is an orphaned survivor of the 2004 tsunami in Aceh, may face charges for violating the 2004 law on domestic violence.
The Children's Aid Society of New York — A New Start for Disconnected Youth
Ana Bermudez, director of juvenile justice programs for The Children’s Aid Society of New York City, works with youth from some of the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. When she
started with Children’s Aid in 2007, Bermudez knew that a restorative approach would be critical, and she has infused the practices throughout the initiatives she oversees, saying, “I was not going to run any of the programs here without a restorative focus.”
Each year, Children’s Aid serves 150,000 children and families at locations throughout the city, providing services ranging from job training and academic support to health care and family counseling. Bermudez heads the agency’s Lasting Investments in Neighborhood Connections (LINC) program, which helps formerly incarcerated youth transition back to their community. She also
supervises the Next Generation Center in the South Bronx, a LINC site that provides recreational and educational programs — and a haven in a neighborhood plagued by poverty and violence.
Volunteer statements: “every Circle is my favorite”, “I needed this Circle more than anyone here”
Once and awhile I get tired. I get tired and lonely and frustrated. I wonder why I am a workaholic and kick myself for doing this to myself. I keep repeating a cycle. Then I am in Circle and people say things that catch me off guard.
Suddenly someone is talking about surviving physical abuse as a child. As most of us look at the paper plates on the floor, because the speaker is explaining how her teachers, police officers and social workers used these values to get her safe. She expresses this and only starts to tear up at the end. No one interrupts, no rescuing comments, no affirming “thanks for sharing”. Because that is how Circle works. We tell the truth one person at a time.
The need for a new kind of justice in youth crime
As the two leading providers of restorative justice for youth in Sonoma County — Restorative Resources and RECOURSE Mediation Services — we know what works when dealing with youthful offenders, and why. The restorative justice practices used by our non-profit agencies are firmly focused on repairing harm done to people and relationships, rather than imposing a punishment disconnected from the needs of those harmed. Restorative justice gives victims a voice in how they want things to be “made right.”
The evidence shows that in communities, including school communities, restorative practices build social capital and achieve social discipline through participatory learning and decision-making. When there is wrongdoing, everyone affected by the behavior gets to play an active role in addressing the wrong and making things right. This goes far beyond punishment; it makes real, positive change possible.
1,000 children avoid criminal record with apology
Devon and Cornwall Police believe that by adopting a more “flexible” approach to “low-level” crime, including graffiti, shoplifting and some public order offences, they can reduce re-offending rates and stop youngsters going to court unnecessarily.
Since the programme’s launch last November, 1,031 first-time young offenders aged between 10 and 17 have written letters to victims, painted over graffiti and paid for stolen goods.
Dignity in Schools Campaign releasing national resolution for ending school pushout
from the Restorative Practices eForum:
Over 180 organizations from across the country, including the International Institute for Restorative Practices, have signed on to support the Dignity in Schools Campaign National Resolution for Ending School Pushout, a call to action for our school systems to end harsh discipline policies and law enforcement tactics that push too many young people out of school each year. The resolution calls for schools to implement positive alternatives that protect the human rights of young people and keep students in school, including "evidence-based discipline policies and practices, such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and restorative practices.”
10 ways to live restoratively
1. Take relationships seriously, envisioning yourself in an interconnected web of people, institutions and the environment.
2. Try to be aware of the impact - potential as well as actual - of your actions on others and the environment.
3. When your actions negatively impact others, take responsibility by acknowledging and seeking to repair the harm - even when you could probably get away with avoiding or denying it. (To craft a letter of apology, see the Apology Letter website developed by Loreen Walker and Ben Furman.)
4. Treat everyone respectfully, even those you don’t expect to encounter again, even those you feel don’t deserve it, even those who have harmed or offended you or others.
5. Involve those affected by a decision, as much as possible, in the decision-making process.
Restorative justice: New approaches in Brazil
Today, most of the deaths of Brazilian adolescents are caused by gang-related murders.
To counteract gangs’ advanced organization police repression looks more and more like guerrilla. However, the government is realizing that a strictly adversarial approach is not going to advance a resolution.
In the mid-1990s, Dominic Barter began working with favela residents, including drug gang members, to help them strengthen nonviolent options for working with young people. “I saw violence as a monologue,” said Barter, referring to both gang activity and its repression, “I wanted to create a dialogue.”