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Restorative justice an expansive concept

August 7, 2010

“We’re looking at the issue of second-chances for those incarcerated and re-evaluating Virginia’s no-parole system,” said Nick Szuberla, founder of the activist organization Thousand Kites. The group uses new-school media such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter alongside old-school media such as radio, television and newspapers to try to change minds and policies.

…Restorative justice is an expansive concept. It’s also one in practice right now.

…Charlottesville Restorative Justice works in
cooperation with the courts, victims and offenders to open dialogue,
resolve issues and to help provide monetary and emotional restitution.

“The idea of restorative justice is to help make the
victim whole, to satisfy the needs of the community for restitution,
service or punishment and the needs of the offender to understand why
the crime happened, to accept responsibility and to change,” said David Saunier, coordinator at Charlottesville Restorative Justice.

“Our organization tends to focus on the victims and making sure they are heard and helping the offender accept responsibility,” Mr. Saunier
said. “The Kites folks tend to focus more on the offender side of the
issue. That’s good because the concept of restorative justice is

The Kites are offering a Monday training session —
and a camera — for those who want to record stories. A Tuesday
informational meeting will clue folks in on the Kites’ bigger issues.
The meetings will be held at 7 p.m. at The Quest Foundation , inside The Quest Book Shop on West Main Street.

Thousand Kites began in 1998 when Mr. Szuberla
was host of a rural Appalachian hip-hop program, located near two super
maximum-security prisons, Red Onion and Wallens Ridge. He began to
receive letters from prisoners, many of whom told of racism and human
rights violations. He began broadcasting into the prisons and including
prisoners in his radio show.

Read the full article.


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