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RJ Article Baskin, Cyndy. Holistic Healing and Accountability: Indigenous Restorative Justice
Writing from an Aboriginal perspective in Canada, Cyndy Baskin draws certain fundamental contrasts between Western-European and Aboriginal approaches to understanding and dealing with wrongdoing. For example, a Western-European approach, as seen in the dominant society and its criminal justice system in Canada, focuses on the offender and his or her individual responsibility for wrongdoing, and emphasizes punishment of the offender as the most appropriate response. An Aboriginal approach emphasizes a collective responsibility for dealing with wrongdoing and seeks healing to restore peace and balance among the community, offender, and victim. In this framework, Baskin discusses her work with Aboriginal sexual offenders using culture-based restorative justice aims and processes, such as circles.
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RJ Article Lawrie, Rowena and Thomas, Brendan and Brignell, Georgia and Smart, Jane and Potas, Ivan. Circle Sentencing in New South Wales: A Review and Evaluation
Part 1 presents the background and concept of circle sentencing. The process involves community members and offenders coming together to discuss the offense, the offender, and the consequences of the offense. The goal is to jointly arrive at an appropriate sentence for the offender. This justice process enjoyed success in Canada, spurring officials in New South Wales to adapt the process for use with Australian Aboriginal communities. A pilot circle sentencing initiative was undertaken at Nowra beginning in February 2002. The pilot program had 13 offender participants: 11 male and 2 female offenders. Part 2 reviews the circle sentencing procedures used in Nowra. Eight case examples of circle sentencing proceedings are presented throughout part 2 in order to demonstrate its practice. The case studies describe the circumstances of the offense, the proceedings, the sentence, and the progress reports at follow-up. Part 3 presents program evaluation results for the first 12 months of the programxe2x80x99s operation. Participants in circle sentencing were surveyed throughout 2002. Surveys were completed by community members, defense solicitors, police, prosecutors, the magistrate, defendants, and victims. The evaluation indicates that circle sentencing in Nowra has been effective in many ways. This type of justice model has been effective at reducing barriers between the courts and Aboriginal people; raising the level of support for Aboriginal people; incorporating victim support; empowering the Aboriginal community; offering relevant sentencing options with community support; and reducing recidivism. Part 4 assesses the role of circle sentencing in New South Wales given the success of the first circle sentencing pilot program. Given the positive results of the program, the only deficit discovered was the time commitment required to process an offender through circle sentencing. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.org.
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RJ Article Wilson, Robin J. Can We Welcome High-Risk Sex Offenders Back to the Community?
The term “pedophilia‿ refers to individuals sexually attracted to children. As Robin Wilson writes, pedophilia incites an enormously high degree of fear and anger among the general population. Even when pedophiles are arrested, convicted, and incarcerated, the vast majority of them in Canada and the United States eventually serve their terms and return to society. It is in this context that Wilson asks what can be done with “high-risk‿ sex offenders who return to our communities. To explore the possibilities, he discusses a successful program for released sex offenders in Canada called 'Circles of Support and Accountability,' a collaboration between the Canadian government and the Mennonite Central Committee of Ontario.
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RJ Article Huculak, Bria. A Story of a Peacemaking Circle
What are the advantages of using a Circle approach or process to address criminal offending? How does a Circle process differ from a traditional courtroom? These are questions illuminated by this restorative justice resource paper by Bria Huculak, a judge of the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In the paper Judge Huculak describes the nature, structure, and purposes of peacemaking circles. She points out how they are different from traditional court proceedings. Additionally, she notes that circles are being used for a range of offenses and in a variety of settings. To illustrate the use of a circle approach, she sketches the context for and outcomes of a peacemaking circle employed to address an actual robbery case in which violence was threatened.
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RJ Article Pranis, Kay. The little book of circle processes.
Circles draw on Native American traditions and ancient teachings, but different types of circles have come into use today for a variety of purposes. Typical elements of a circle include opening and closing ceremonies, a talking piece, a facilitator or keeper, collectively established guidelines and consensus decisions. Modern ideas of democracy and inclusive speech relate to the value of equality and the opportunity for participants both to give and to receive from others. The philosophy of circles also emphasises connectedness. The four relational elements of a circle are based on the Medicine Wheel. As well as providing an overview of values, historical context, and components of circles, Pranis’ book discusses ways that circles may be organised. Several examples of various types also reflect the importance of story telling in circle process.
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RJ Article Schwartz, Melanie. Opening a Circle of Hope: The NSW Government Review of Circle Sentencing.
Circle Sentencing was introduced in Nowra, NSW as a pilot program in February 2002. While the law has been one of the primary tools of dispossession and disadvantage for Aboriginal people, circle sentencing aims to empower Aboriginal communities in the sentencing process, create more relevant and meaningful sentences, and strengthen local community through the process. The recent government review of the Nowra circles (the Review) recognises that the trial has been successful not only in breaking the cycle of offending, but has the potential to strengthen Aboriginal communities so that the underlying causes of crime are addressed. (excerpt)
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RJ Article Riestenberg, Nancy. PEASE Academy: The Restorative Recovery School.
The PEASE Academy, a high school in Minneapolis for students recovering from chemical dependency and addiction, has incorporated the circle process and restorative justice principles into its system with much success. These principles have increased student accountability for their actions, opened a forum for dialogue and reflection, and, interestingly, helped staff resolve internal issues. This article examines how the process was integrated into the school’s program, the student response to the circle sessions, and the change in attitude brought about through the restorative process. Abstract courtesy of the Marquette University Law School-Restorative Justice Initiative http://law.marquette.edu/cgi-bin/site.pl?2130&pageID=1831
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RJ Article Boyes-Watson, Carolyn. Seeds of Change: Using Peacemaking Circles to Build a Village for Every Child
Roca, Inc., a grassroots human development and community organization, has adopted the peacemaking circle as a tool in its relationship building with youth, communities, and formal systems. Circles are a method of communication derived from aboriginal and native traditions. In Massachusetts, the Department of Social Services and the Department of Youth Services are exploring the application of the circle in programming with youth and families. By providing a consistent structure for open, democratic communication, peacemaking circles enhance the formation of positive relationships in families, communities, and systems. The outcome is a stronger community with greater unity across truly diverse participants. This article presents the theory and practice of peacemaking circles, the lessons and challenges of implementing circles in formal organizations, and the potential of the circle to support a strengths-based and community-based approach to child welfare. Author's abstract.
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RJ Article Roffey, Sue. Circle Time Solutions as a framework for sharing and supporting
Anyone who has worked with groups will be aware of how certain dynamics can result in one or two people being dominant while others are undermined or even silenced, Many simply become disengaged. Decisions often end up being made by a small or elite group and it is not surprising that others feel no ownership of the process and nothing much changes. The Circle Time framework offers a workable solution to this difficulty. It provides a democratic, pro-active, respectful, reflective and creative approach to consider a wide range of issues affecting a group or community. Circles are most commonly used for school classes but are applicable to any other group. The strength of Circles is that they address values, feelings, self and relational skills within a safe and supportive framework. Familiarity with the principles and practice of Circle Time is important in using this framework for resolving conflict or addressing more challenging issues, such as bullying. In schools Circle Time is a regular activity with a class, taking place at least weekly. Part of its purpose is to raise self esteem and promote a sense of belonging within the group. (excerpt)
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RJ Article Aboriginal Justice Advisory Council. Circle Sentencing: Involving Aboriginal Communities in the Sentencing Process
Circle sentencing or circle courts arose in Canada in the early 1992 out of a decision from the Supreme Court of the Yukon in the case of R v Moses. In that case the presiding judge, Judge Stuart, advocated a significant change in the Canadian sentencing process. Judge Stuart was of the opinion that a significant and immediate improvement could be achieved within the judicial system by increasing meaningful community involvement in the sentencing process, before during and after the sentencing takes place. In attempting to implement this Judge Stuart consulted the local Indian community and the concept of circle courts was developed. Circle courts were adopted by a number of more traditionally oriented first nations people in Canada, but have subsequently been adopted in Canadian urban settings and are also now used in the United States. (excerpt)
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