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Restorative processes are often used instead of court hearings. So what role do judges play in initiating and overseeing them? These articles address judges' use of and attitudes toward restorative justice programmes. Also included are manuals for court-referred restorative justice programmes.

Restoring justice: Sonoma County and beyond
from the article by John Beck in Sonomoa County Gazette: Last summer, when the Santa Rosa City Schools District was looking for a way to curb the fourth highest rate of suspensions in the state, it turned to restorative justice as the solution. “We were almost an outlier,” said Jen Klose, Santa City Schools board member. “We had truly become zero tolerance.” Searching for a new paradigm for discipline, Santa Rosa City Schools board president Bill Carle said, “We started focusing on how do we do this in a different way, and that’s when we found restorative justice.”
Driver admits causing death: Case referred to restorative justice
from the article in Otago Daily Times: A man who yesterday admitted careless driving causing the death of another motorist will complete a restorative justice programme before being sentenced. Michael John Andrews (27), mine worker, of Queenstown, appeared before Judge Tom Broadmore in the Queenstown District Court and admitted causing the death of David Orchard on State Highway 1, Mangamaunu, Kaikoura, on March 6....
Restorative justice pilot scheme to begin at 10 courts
from the article by Owen Bowcott on the guardian: The first victim-led, restorative justice programmes are due to begin in crown courts across England and Wales this month in an attempt to cut reoffending rates. Requests for face-to-face meetings following a crime are normally initiated by the offender under restorative justice schemes. But a new pilot project in 10 crown courts will reverse the process, enabling victims to approach offenders before a sentence has been imposed.
Judge's experience: Restorative justice works
from the article by David Gottlieb in the Fresno Bee: ....I would not write this commentary or support restorative justice if I did not see the results firsthand. I have written amazing anecdotal stories about the transformation of some of our youth and the communities, but that is not as relevant as the evidence supporting the success of the program. Foremost among the statistics drawn from two years of studies of the program is that recidivism for youth that successfully completed the program is 5%. So, of about 300 teens that have gone through the program, 15 went on in subsequent years to either reoffend or violate the terms of their probation.
Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus talks restorative justice
from the interview with Kelly Pyzik for Scarlet & Black: ....First, could you tell me a little bit about the short course you taught at Grinnell the past two weeks? The purpose of the course was to introduce students to the principles of restorative justice and their historical roots, to discuss current restorative justice programs and applications of restorative principles and to compare how our country currently addresses conflict and wrongdoing with how we might address those matters using a more restorative approach.
Although we may disagree with a political system, every system may feature attributes and effective practices that actually work in contrast with the practices we [...]
Judge hits out at 'this kind of crap' as teen convicted of delivery man robbery
from the article in the Irish Examiner: A judge has told a Tallaght teenager who stole a Chinese takeaway that “this kind of crap” puts delivery men off doing their jobs. “On the face of it to some this may seem a minor crime, property to the value of €18,” Judge Mary Ellen Ring told 19-year-old Daniel Wall, “but this delivery man, Mr Yang Yu, provides an excellent service, bringing food to people’s doors.” “The kind of crap you engaged in puts people like Mr Yu off doing their work, they stop delivering and lose their business,” Judge Ring said as Wall nodded in agreement.
Not adding up: Criminal reconciliation in Chinese juvenile justice
from the article in Dui Hua's Human Rights Journal: Recent amendments to China’s Criminal Procedure Law involve special procedures for handling cases involving juvenile defendants and resolving cases through criminal reconciliation. Although the law does not explicitly link the two, criminal reconciliation has been a key feature in the development of China’s juvenile justice system under the principle of “education first, punishment second.” Dui Hua welcomes criminal reconciliation as a means to restorative justice and reduced juvenile incarceration, but research suggests that the relatively new measure is experiencing some growing pains in China. Jiang Jue (姜珏), a PhD candidate in the School of Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, has done extensive research on criminal reconciliation in China and has seen how the process works in many juvenile cases. Her research indicates that current implementation of criminal reconciliation falls short of juvenile justice principles by alienating youth and stifling attempts at education.
A visionary judge makes restorative justice come alive in Alabama
from Ken Kimsey's entry on Fairness Works: In a six-part video series, Judge McCooey talks passionately about her believe that justice requires much more than the court system provides, especially in the area of giving crime victims the opportunity to meet the offenders, face-to-face, in a safe place, and to do so on a voluntary basis. (If you walk out of here and find someone has stolen your car radio, chances are you don’t have much interest in meeting the thief, she says in one segment. But the more deeply you have been hurt, the more likely you want to meet the offender and ask questions like “why?”.) As appealing as her speaking style and warmth is her story about the unorthodox path that led her to the bench. Serving as a judge was never in her long-range plans, but when she won her first election against a well-established Montgomery lawyer, surprising herself in the process, she knew there were some new thing she wanted to try. Finding ways of implementing a restorative justice program was among them, and she set about methodically but quietly to make this happen.
Lawyers Peacemakers
After all aren't most lawyers peacemakers. They definitely solve the most major problems here in the USA. Where would we be without them?
Lawyers promote restorative justice & therapeutic jurisprudence
from Lorenn Walker's entry on Restorative Justice and Other Public Health Approaches for Healing: While a lot of “lawyer dissing” goes on, some of it easily understandable, many lawyers and judges (who are also lawyers) should be recognized for promoting restorative justice and therapeutic jurisprudence.
Lawyers as Peacemakers: Practicing Holistic, Problem-Solving Law
from Lainey Feingold's review on BeyondChron: J. Kim Wright is an ambitious woman. In this comprehensive resource manual, she describes dozens of ways in which lawyers, judges and legal workers across the country (and around the world) are attempting to change their profession for the better. The terms sound hopeful – Holistic Law, Renaissance Law, Transformative Law, Law with a Meditative Perspective. Spiritual Law, Law as a Healing Profession, Restorative Justice, Therapeutic Jurisprudence. Most profoundly, as the title reflects, “Lawyers as Peacemakers.” Lawyers as Peacemakers, published by the American Bar Association, clocks in at over 500 pages including appendixes, resources and information about its many contributors. The book includes essays, quotes, interview snippets, profiles and articles written by both Wright and leaders in the various alternative legal processes she explores.
Delattre, Regina. Training for Mediators and a Training Course for Prosecutors and Judges. The Results of an AGIS Project
Reports on four seminars held in Leuven, Belgium, and Trier Germany, between December 2003 and February 2004, involving experienced mediators, trainers, prosecutors and judges from several European countries. Participants exchanged training models, and discussed differences in legal frameworks with a view to development of a training course for prosecutors and judges.
Degelman, Charles. Giving Back: A Community Service-Learning Manual for Youth Courts
As pointed out by Charles Degelman, youth courts are among the fastest growing crime intervention programs in the United States. Youth courts divert minor offenders from overloaded juvenile courts. They hold young offenders accountable for their actions, educate them about the impact of their actions, teach them about the legal system, and provide opportunities for young offenders to develop and practice life and leadership skills. In youth courts, community service is the most popular disposition for young offenders. With all of this in mind, Degelman maintains that youth court administrators, in planning and implementing community service options, can realize the principles of restorative justice at least in part through lessons already learned in America’s schools, where community service has a long and significant place in education. Making a connection between classroom-based study and service to the community is often called service learning. In this manual for youth court administrators, Degelman uses the goals and objectives of balanced and restorative justice as the bridge to apply school-based service-learning methods to community-service dispositions in youth courts.
Department for Courts, New Zealand. Facilitator Training Manual
In late 2001 the New Zealand Ministry of Justice initiated a pilot program of court-referred restorative justice conferences in three court districts. The conferences in the pilot program are managed by facilitators who have been trained and approved by the Ministry of Justice. This document consists of materials for training facilitators in the processes, skills, and information needed to manage a constructive conference. After an introduction to the pilot program and the manual itself, the training modules cover the following topics: the nature of restorative justice; restorative justice conferencing in this pilot program; victim and offender issues; cross-cultural issues; facilitation skills; preparation for a conference; and the post-conference process.
Edgar, Allen and Roberts, Julian V. Victim Impact Statements at Sentencing: Perceptions of the Judiciary in Canada
The use of victim impact statements (VIS) at sentencing continues to generate controversy, even in countries such as Canada, where VIS have been in use for many years. While a great deal of research has addressed the use of these statements at sentencing, very little is known about the experience and perceptions of the professional for whom these statements are written: the judge. In this article, we report the findings from a survey of judges in Canada regarding their use of victim impact statements. Some critics of VIS have argued that these statements add nothing to the sentencing process, and simply raise false expectations among victims. The findings from this survey demonstrate that judges find victim impact statements to be a useful source of information at sentencing. Many judges reported that the VIS provided information that was unavailable from any other source. That said, many issues remain to be addressed with respect to victim impact statements in Canada. These findings will be of particular interest to jurisdictions contemplating the introduction of victim impact statements at the sentencing stage of the criminal process. (authors abstract)
Town, Michael. The Unified Family Court: Preventative, Therapeutic, and Restorative Justice for America's Families
In thinking about preventive law,analogies from medicine and public health come immediately to mind. While much has been written about preventive medicine, including early screening, detection, and intervention for disease, only recently have judges, lawyers, academicians and the public begun to address preventive law and its philosophical cousins, therapeutic justice and restorative justice. It is my view that by thinking about and sharpening these concepts, then applying them to a unified family court system, we will help save lives, reduce injury, and provide needed services to the many children and families who appear daily in our nation’s courts. (excerpt)
Jackson, Janet L and van der Leeden, Rien and de Keijser, Jan Willem. From Moral Theory to Penal Attitudes and Back: A Theoretically Integrated Modeling Approach
Within the frameworks of utilitarianism, retributivism, and restorative justice, the authors of this paper focus on judges’ attitudes towards the goals and functions of punishment. While punishment is widely accepted as a proper response to offenders, it begs the fundamental question of what is suitable and just punishment. Indeed, assert the authors, the practice of punishment is morally problematic and so requires moral justification if it is to be inflicted. Many have constructed moral legal theories to legitimize the principle of punishment and the apportionment of particular punishments. The authors, however, believe that the link between moral theory and practice with respect to punishment is not all that evident and straightforward. With all of this in view, they examine systematically and in depth a theoretically integrated measurement of penal attitudes. They do this by developing a theoretically integrated model of penal attitudes. Then, in the context of the Dutch legal system, they locating judges’ attitudes within this model.
. Survey report: Aligning restorative justice in the criminal justice system in the EU.
The overall aim of the consultation was to get insights into the criminal law of the EU member states as regards to RJ practices. The focus was not to assess precisely whether and how RJ practices are implemented in their legal context, but to scrutinise if such practices are applied by judges and public prosecutors and to foster if the provisions are correctly used by them according to RJ values and principles. The purpose of the survey was threefold: - In the first place we were interested to gather information about the knowledge and the understanding of RJ by judges and public prosecutors - Secondly, we were seeking to collect information about the referral process of criminal cases to RJ programmes - The third purpose was to identify the cooperation between the judges and public prosecutors and the mediators. The survey followed the structure of these objectives and was divided in two main parts: general queries and specific queries. Pivotal to the above mentioned objectives, the main idea was to share these findings with a general view to foster tailored training models for legal practitioners in the future. (excerpt)
McElrea, F W M. Roles of the Community and Government.
Judge McElrea discusses possible activities that judges can undertake in different settings. These include supporting restorative justice interventions. He also discusses State involvement in restorative justice and offers a proposal for community justice centers.

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