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Case study: Theft

Dec 13, 2011

from the write-up on bettinajung:

Theft of a teacher’s handbag at a local secondary school by a year 9 boy. Loss of £200.00 worth of belongings. Loss of trust amongst school staff. Anger of affected parties including father of wrong doer.

Conference brought together: victim, victim’s husband, wrong doer, wrong doer’s father, Head of House/ Head of School, pastoral manager.

Conference lasted 90 minutes and took 2 weeks to set up.

Set up included meetings with the pastoral manager to look at background, as well as several long phone calls to all the affected parties.

Agreement: Wrongdoer to carry out community service to repair harm caused to school. For one entire half tem four times per week 30 minutes after school. parties agreed on litter picking. Wrongdoer to act as book monitor in affected teacher’s lesson to rebuild trust. Wrongdoer to repay the difference between insurance pay out and actual financial loss at a weekly rate of 75% of pocket money. School in the meantime will reimburse teacher. Repayments to be made to school. School to set up referral to CAMHS and other external agencies to support student and family with underlying emotional issues.

Read the case study.

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Darrell Moneyhon
Darrell Moneyhon says:
Dec 13, 2011 02:51 PM

Using the above case as just one example of many in the actual practice of restorative justice, I would like to ask others in this field or movement to offer feedback about the following excerpt from my book about a proposed model community. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Are the ideas expressed in the excerpt consistent with restorative justice conceptualizations and practices? Would a community-from-scratch be served well by the ideas as presented below? Or would they need to be tweaked prior to actually building the community (&quot;Allsville&quot;). <br />&nbsp; <br />excerpt from book, Allsville Emerging <br />( ) pages 391-394: <br /> <br />Policy: Correction instead of punishment.: <br /> <br />This policy would put rehabilitative correction (correction done in a therapeutic fashion that does not invite as much resistance as confrontation alone), far in front of any punishment-like interventions for wrongdoings or misbehaviors. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;All attempts would be made to assess the multiple factors contributing to the “problem,” and to solve it without trying to blame, punish, or coerce, the individual into change. Blame, punishment, and coercion simply aren’t likely to produce change that is internalized or sustainable. True correction raises the bar, to the kind of change that is internalized <br />and sustainable. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;But this must be done without bypassing individual accountability. How is this possible? Blame, punishment, and coercion have been used a long time to try to make the individual <br />accountable for his or her wrongdoings. We have <br />all been conditioned to think that these approaches more or less are the paths to accountability. Without them there is no <br />holding a person accountable—or so we think. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The council members didn’t buy that assumption. They felt that it is possible to avoid punitive approaches and still lead the individual toward personal accountability. They believed in inspired accountability. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;They “believed” in it in two ways. First, they believed that accountability can actually be achieved by learning and by deeper motivation. Second, they believed that inspired accountability is more valuable than coerced accountability. They believed in what inspired accountability could accomplish. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Furthermore, they realized that the only true accountability was to change for the better, so you don’t repeat the same victimizing behaviors. “I’m sorry” means “I’m changing” or “See my changes.” But that still leaves us with the question,“How?” How do you help people really change in a way that solves the problem which their old behaviors caused? <br /> <br />Practice: Phased Individual Correction. <br /> <br />The “how” they came up with is to take our time to move a person toward accountability. If you go there too fast, without a kind of emotional and intellectual processing phase, then the wrongdoer will feel unnecessarily defensive, and will be blinded to the intended support behind the direct,confrontational, attempt to solve the problem. But if the support is put up front, in plain view, only gradually inching toward full “ownership,” then the wrongdoer may feel safe to <br />admit his or her own misbehaviors. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Accountability restoration is seen as a multiple-step, more gradual, process than the way it has been viewed in more traditional forms of so-called “corrections.” “Phased individualized <br />correction,” or “PIC” (“Yes, please PIC on me!”), <br />envisions the same end of personal accountability, but gets there with more of a process and with a sense of therapeutic <br />timing. Human beings are not mere objects that you can get to “straighten up” with the snap of a finger or the sting of a whip. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A significant part of accountability restoration is eventualrestitution for the victim, or victims, of the misbehavior. One <br />of the goals of PIC is to get the offender to a point of wanting to help his or her victims, either directly, or by giving back to other “vulnerables” in the community. Such “restitution <br />resolve” (RR “I’ve been working on the RR, all the live long day!”) is something the whole PIC process moves toward, as it aspires to effect a sustainable correction of the social problem, rather than a quick fix which fails to transform the offender. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;But since the offender’s ownership may take awhile, the victim’s needs must be met by the community in the meantime. Healing the wounds of the victim, and helping meet the victim’s needs is part of the social problem solving charged <br />to the Function of Social Decision Making. This leads us to the next practice. <br /> <br />Practice: Restorative justice—serving victims. <br /> <br />It’s important to note that this sub-function of social decision making, the sub-function called restoration, is not the exclusive domain of the Council, but is also the responsibility of each and every citizen, at all times. The organized <br />portion of the Function of Social Decision Making is only a conduit to help channel the corrective, healing, energy. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;This conduit (the Council) will be used to help assess the needs of the victims, and to plan, and oversee the implementation of, community interventions that are needed to <br />help the victim. The council will require that the offending person give restitution. <br />&nbsp; <br />&nbsp;Thank you, <br />&nbsp;Darrell Moneyhon

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