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A challenge

Nov 10, 2009

from the entry on Restore:

I’m listening this morning to the slew of financial statistics–housing starts, unemployment rate, bank closings, those without health care, bankruptcies, houses in foreclosure….

It seems to me that restorative justice needs to come up with an index of its own:  one that marks the measure of social justice.  Are we moving closer or further away from our goal of less reliance on prisons, improving social relationships in our communities, looking at how well or how poorly alternatives to incarceration are funded?  What is the ratio between expenditures on prisons vs. what we spend on schools?  What is the ratio of crime to poverty?  Number of dispute resolution programs to police officers?

What variables should we include?  Some initial thoughts:  ratio of prison spending to education… percentage of gated communities compared to low-income housing … incarceration rates v. those without healthcare … social distance … social capital …  As a sociologist, this makes me think.  Things are not static. This gives me hope.  We need something by which to measure our progress. Whereas people may not understand abstractions or theories, they do understand numbers.

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