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The Salvation Army and restorative justice

Apr 01, 2011

from the article in The Dignity Project:

“I will never forget my first brush with injustice” says Matt Delaney. “I was so hurt. I wanted pay back. I wanted to retaliate, to return the favour that I didn’t ask for. I did fight back. Strange though, after I unleashed my vengeance, all I felt was empty and alone. What was wrong with me? Where was the justice I was looking for? Why didn’t I feel justified?

....“Just the other day I was asked to assist with a ‘Restorative Conference’ at a school where The Salvation Army serves,” says Matt Delaney, restorative justice facilitator for The Salvation Army in Richmond Hill. “My role was to be a ‘co-facilitator’ for the conference. I was to assist in the interviewing process, and before the conference began I made sure all parties agreed to the parameters of the conference dialogue.

“The happenings that brought this conference into being were hostile in nature. There were some concerns as to how this conference would flesh itself out as the hostilities with all offenders have run deep for some time now. The situation involved fighting on school grounds and verbal threats made to students, parents and others outside the school. The conference conversation itself involved a number of girls, their parents, siblings, faculty members and two facilitators. The conference itself took two hours.

The dialogue started with parents and students displaying emotions of sadness, anger, hostility, and notions of ‘payback’… in the end in repentance, resolution, tears and embrace was shared throughout the group. Some moments were tense to say the least. I have never been so moved during a Restorative Conference. I truly believe this is a result of careful attention to details and a dedication to a painstaking shift in our justice efforts from punitive practices to restorative ones. It was physically obvious, in our conversation and in goals resulting from the conference that all the students had been deeply moved and have dedicated themselves to a ‘mind shift’ as it pertains to justice.

Read the whole article.

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Shawn Verhey
Shawn Verhey says:
May 03, 2011 11:01 AM

This is great news. I run several RJ interventions at HMP Thorn Cross where I serve as the co-ordinating chaplain &amp; I am very passionate about RJ. As well as being Canadian (best man at General Linda Bond's nephew Mel's wedding), I also have a very rich Salvation Army heritage. <br />I would be thrilled if the Salvation Army RJ team would like to come along to one of our Sycamore Tree RJ events, a special Victim Impact RJ evening or possibly a victim offender RJ conference. God is so good to us here at Thorn Cross &amp; the spiritual impact of RJ is a precursor to revival. <br />Also, recently we have lost our SDalvation Army chaplain due to retirement &amp; I would love to have another SA chaplain on our team. Could you please help? <br />May the Lord richly bless you. <br />Yours in Christ <br />Shawn

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