- Showing 10 posts published between May 01, 2011 and May 31, 2011 [Show all]
Call the Governor: Restorative justice bill passes Colorado General Assembly
Colorado’s General Assembly passed legislation Wednesday night in the waning hours of its current session to include restorative justice practices among the options available to the justice system. Participation must be voluntarily chosen.
Senate sponsor Sen. Linda Newell and House sponsor Rep. Pete Lee guided the legislation through multiple votes. The House concurred with the Senate version in a vote late on May 11. HB 11-1032, now goes to Gov. John Hickenlooper for signature.
The conversation: Does restorative justice work? Yes!
The Ministry of Justice is considering increasing the use of restorative justice – in which offenders are encouraged to meet their victims – as part of its forthcoming green paper on criminal justice reform. Oliver Laughland brings together 34-year-old Reggie Aitchison, a prolific offender and drug user from Widnes, Cheshire, and 72-year-old grandmother, Kathleen, whose house he burgled, to discuss their experience of going through the restorative justice process and their reflections on the crime.
Helping the community, building connections
Recently, we shared the article “Give prisoners the chance to help the community” by Erwin James in which he describes prison as consisting of “enforced idleness” and working to “create model prisoners instead of model citizens.” Erwin describes the benefits of programmes allowing prisoners to do something for the community. Referring to his own participation in a Braille unit when incarcerated for murder, he says, “...it was the first time in our lives that we had experienced the satisfaction that can be gained from helping other people.”
I thought about Erwin’s article as I read about prisoners making trauma bears in the Australian state of Victoria. The programme – a partnership between Prison Fellowship Australia and the prisons – teaches prisoners how to sew and stuff the soft toys that are used by emergency service personnel to comfort children in trauma situations. The prisoners may also pay for the materials to make a soft toy for a loved one. Programme volunteers describe the paradox of watching the men who have caused harm work to create the soft toys. As described in the article, “Masculine hands clenched tight ready to harm or reaching out to thieve and finally bound for prison now develop something creative and productive that brings joy to traumatised children and their loved ones.”
Restorative justice in the Cambodian community: Challenges and possibilities in practice
from the paper by Pen Khek Chear:
....the syncretic beliefs among Cambodians lead them to also use gru to alleviate suffering and deal with conflict. Here is a personal example from the author of this paper that occurred in the Cambodian American community:
There was an attempted robbery at my aunt’s liquor store, where one of the robbers was shot and killed in the store by police. The liquor store is in a predominately African American community; the robber and the police officer were also African American. The local community was outraged when they heard about the killing and suspicious of the fact that my aunt refused to talk to press or community members about what had happen. This led to a boycott of her store. She went to a gru for help. The gru said that, in order to alleviate the current problems, she had to paint the back of two turtles and let them go into a local creek. This would send the bad spirits away. She did as she was told. The boycott eventually stopped and after some months, things went back to normal.
I just hugged the man who murdered my son
While most StoryCorps interviews are between family and friends, this conversation comes from two people who easily could have been enemies.
In 1993, Oshea Israel was a teenage gang member in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One night at a party Oshea got into a fight, which ended when he shot and killed another boy.
Now 34, Oshea has finished serving his prison sentence for second-degree murder.
A scary, but exciting prospect
Recently, I was in the Bahamas to conduct a training seminar on the Sycamore Tree Project® for Prison Fellowship Bahamas. A diverse group of people including prison officers, volunteers, and police officers gathered to learn about this in-prison restorative justice programme. Through the day and half of training two emotions stood out: fear and excitement.
For many, especially the prison officers, the idea of bringing victims into prison to meet face-to-face with prisoners (but not their own offenders) was novel and a bit overwhelming. Although the programme has a positive track record in close to twenty countries, the training participants still had serious concerns about how this would work. For one thing, how do you handle victim anger? Why would victims want to go into prison? Isn’t this just setting up an explosive situation?
Dialogues can offer healing for crime victims
Recovering from a crime can be a deeply personal process for victims, but Maryland's corrections system offers victims who are interested a chance to interact with their attackers.
The state is able to arrange dialogues between victims and the person incarcerated for their crime.
Victims' Commissioner highlights financial costs for families in the aftermath of murder
from the blog entry on Justice:
Families who have lost loved ones under terrible circumstances are facing costs of £37,000 on average as they struggle to pick up the pieces, according to figures released today.
Media toolkit for restorative justice organizations
from the introduction by Brunilda Pali:
Citizens generally do not make in-depth research on important issues, like crime and justice, and scientific research has shown that the public lacks a clear understanding of RJ. Research has also shown that the public relies especially on mass media for information that enables them to make opinions on crime and punishment.
The information transmitted through the media can come from different sources, and RJ organisations should be one of the main sources to provide information. But in order to gain access to the mass media, these organisations must first understand the media, and learn the skills and the techniques needed to communicate with them.
Sycamore Tree: Week 3
A week with huge expectations: we have three visitors coming with us. Ann (not her real name) a young lady, victim of a robbery, whose car was violently attacked while she was in it and whose bags were stolen and Ray and Vi, whose son Christopher was murdered by a gang of violent youths high on alcohol and drugs. Ann and Ray and Vi are effectively surrogate victims for the men - a taster, in a group, of the experience of a victim – offender conference or mediation.