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Articles about the use of restorative justice programmes by prosecutors, as well as articles by prosecutors about their experiences with them.

The new face of county justice
from the article in Mille Lacs Messenger: Walsh has experience as an attorney in private practice and said this about his upcoming venture of being the new Mille Lacs County Attorney: “I am honored and humbled to be chosen as your next county attorney. Over the past year, I have made a personal effort to show that I favor leadership by example over mere words and am willing to work hard to earn your trust. That will continue as I begin to do the hard work of representing the people of Mille Lacs County. This office belongs to the people, and I will do everything in my power to protect our residents and rebuild our community when it has been harmed.”
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 [...]
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.
D.A. candidate Jackie Lacey looks to move up
from the article by Robert Greene in the Los Angeles Times: ....California faces a sweeping revamp of the way it delivers and administers criminal justice. Under the policy change known as realignment, counties must take on the task of incarcerating and supervising many felons who formerly went to state prison. The next district attorney of Los Angeles County will play a lead role in developing and articulating policies that will determine whether smart, cost-effective alternative sentencing practices lead to rehabilitation — or instead to dangerous criminals being released, unsupervised, into the community.
Growing past hate: 'Restorative justice' helps heal pain from teens' vandalism
from the article by Fred Van Liew in the DesMoines Register: In March of 1994 members of the Temple B’nai Jeshurun in Des Moines awoke to find neo-Nazi graffiti scrawled on the side of their synagogue. There were no immediate suspects, but there was anguish, anger and outrage.
In Dharun Ravi trial, criminal retribution will not serve justice
from the Guest Column by Joseph C. d'Oronzio in the Star-Ledger: I watch with increasing discomfort as the arch of justice sways with uncertainty in that New Brunswick courtroom where the fate of former Rutgers University freshman Dharun Ravi is being considered.
Utah’s mental health court addresses repeat offender problems
from Jason Nowa's article on Voices of Utah: Sim Gill believes that jail is for people who have murdered, raped, or who harm children and not a place for the mentally ill. He is currently in the process of trying to accomplish this. Gill, who is the Salt Lake County District Attorney, recently spoke to small group of University of Utah students on about his job and the passions that drive him. Gill spoke about various processes, from how he deals with the death penalty, drug abuse and to the mentally ill committing crimes. The United States jails more people than any other country in the world, he said. Gill estimated around 2.2 million people in the United States are currently incarcerated.
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.
Taiwan hopes Japanese comics can teach prosecutors
from AFP: Taiwan has asked its prosecutors to read a Japanese comic book dealing with compassion and tolerance in an effort to improve their work performance, an official said Wednesday. The justice ministry has distributed 2,000 copies of the Japanese manga "Love" based on the true story of how a bereaved mother reconciled with a family whose sixth-grader son killed her boy. The touching story was made into a critically acclaimed television series in Japan that was aired on the island last year.
Community restorative justice and the future of democracy
There is a burgeoning movement in this country toward a more participatory practice of justice. Now mostly confined to a few visionaries in criminal justice, child protection, community organizing, social work, business, and academia, the restorative community justice movement has the potential to revitalize our moribund institutions of liberty.
Drumgold, Shane. To study restorative justice programs for indigenous offenders in USA, Canada and New Zealand, Churchill Fellowship 2003 report.
A prosecutor in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, in the Australian Capital Territory, Shane Drumgold received a Churchill Fellowship in 2003 to study restorative justice programs for indigenous offenders in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. The criminal justice system in Australia faces significant challenges: high rates of recidivism; burgeoning prison population; over-representation of minority groups in the offender and inmate populations; rising costs; and more. Drumgold conducted his study in the context of these challenges. Examining the history of criminal law, restorative justice antecedents in the ancient world and indigenous cultures, and modern restorative practices in the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand (especially among indigenous peoples), Drumgold concludes that restorative justice initiatives potentially present a better alternative approach to the rehabilitation of offenders than current approaches in Australia. With this in mind, he outlines practical ways to enhance the effectiveness of restorative justice processes, as well as ways to assess their effectiveness.
Petterson, Gordon. How to enable prosecutors and judges to make use of RJ practice in their work. The results of the AGIS project on the training of legal practitioners in RJ.
It is clear that in practice the success of mediation programmes in most European countries depends entirely on the co-operation of legal practitioners. This co-operation is important for the selection and referral of suitable cases, for taking into account the results of mediation and for safeguarding the necessary legal rights of the parties Is it possible to develop a short training programme for legal professionals that could have impact on their knowledge, skills and attitudes? Is it possible that a short training programme could help prosecutor and judges start seeing mediation as an option and know how to integrate it into their daily work? (excerpt)
de la Camara, Belen. VOM-programmes and their relation to judicial actors in the juvenile criminal justice system in Catalonia
Belen de la Camara in this paper explores the present relationship between professionals in charge of victim-offender (VOM) programs and the relevant authority in the criminal justice system in Catalonia (Spain), namely, the public prosecutor. To explain this, de la Camar first provides the wider legal and social policy context in Spain and in Catalonia (one of seventeen autonomous communities in Spain). This includes identification of recent legislation on VOM and the institutional framework for VOM in most of Spain’s autonomous communities. Then, within a framework of dependency and cooperation, de la Camara discusses key aspects of the relationship between VOM mediators and public prosecutors.
Petterson, Gordon. Restorative justice and the role of the prosecutor/Mediation as an Alternative to Punishment (summary)
The background for establishing a system of mediation between offender and victim in Norway dates back to two central events in the late 1970s The first experimental mediation project was established in 1981 in the municipality of Lier as a part of the project "Alternative to imprisonment of juveniles." (excerpt)
Anonymous. Emotions Run High
Jason Mackie, an Auckland District Court police prosecutor, was able to attend a restorative justice conference and compare the process to a traditional court session.Mackie noted that at the conference, the victim seemed to gain power, while in the court, the victim often lost power. The offender was forgiven in the conference, a foreign concept within the traditional courtroom. Mackie was surprised at the two-hour length of the conference, considering a court usually has 20 sentences per day, but understands that the length is needed to ensure that proper reconciliation is established between the victim and the offender.
Lerman, David.. Forgiveness in the Criminal Justice System: If it belongs, then why is it so hard to find?
In asking the question of the place and challenge of forgiveness in the criminal justice system, David Lerman advocates for its role in that system. He does this from his perspective as a prosecutor. His treatment of the issues looks at the possibility of forgiveness in the criminal justice system, restorative justice as a harbinger of forgiveness, impediments to forgiveness in the criminal justice system. Impediments include the culture of prosecutors, media influence, and lack of involvement from the faith community.
Gay, Frederick. Restorative Justice and the Prosecutor
Frederick Gay begins this article with the remark that it is the 'us versus them' (good versus evil) mentality that pervades the traditional prosecutor's office, or at least the desires of young lawyers in deciding to join the ranks of prosecutors. Soon the realities of overcrowded prison, jails, and community corrections facilities bring home to the young prosecutor that not every 'bad guy' is going to do the time deserved. The perception that such injustice is all too common wears at the young prosecutor. Gay argues that it is within this context that the concept of restorative justice may have a chance of taking root in the prosecutor's office. When prosecutors realize they are key gatekeepers in the whole criminal justice system, it becomes possible for them to make the paradigm shift from retributive to restorative justice, an approach that addresses public safety demands and better meets the needs of the victim and the community.
Anonymous. Leading the World
Donald Schmid is an Assistant United States Attorney and federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice whose sevens month long research in New Zealand has converted him to becoming an advocate for restorative justice in the U.S. Schmid says that his research has shown greater satisfaction for the parties, and that offenders are more accountable when victims can relate their perspectives directly. He aims to start a pilot project in northern Indiana after returning.
McLeod, Colleen and Bazemore, Gordon. Restorative Justice and the Future of Diversion and Informal Social Control
Bazemore and McLeod observe that restorative justice proponents often suffer from a problem of 'disconnect' in the discourse of mainstream debates about juvenile justice policy. Proponents tend to focus on restorative justice as a more satisfying process for individual victims, offenders, and their supporters. In contrast, policymakers and juvenile justice administrators, while they may be interested in restorative justice, want to know how restorative justice connects with the larger juvenile justice agenda and with general public concerns about community safety, sanctioning and censuring of crime, fairness, and justice. In particular, Bazemore and McLeod point to the need to strengthen community capacity for informal social control in response to youth crime. Hence, they argue for a restorative justice 'model' or guiding philosophy of intervention that would connect restorative principles and informal social control at the policy level in that arena of juvenile justice generally referred to as diversion. In pursuit of restorative justice at this policy level, they discuss diversion in American juvenile justice, libertarian and interventionist approaches to diversion, informal social control, social support, and a restorative justice approach to diversion.
. The "smart on crime" prosecutor.
"Smart on Crime" criminal justice reforms have emerged in recent years as shrinking government budgets and exploding incarceration rates have prompted scrutiny of the efficiency and efficacy of existing criminal justice approaches. Policymakers across the country have sought out new strategies designed to prevent crime and recidivism, enhance community safety, reduce our reliance on incarceration, and save taxpayer dollars. As a result, law enforcement, courts, and correctional agencies have been implementing innovative approaches in areas such as diversion, problem-solving courts, alternatives to incarceration, and ex-offender re-entry. However, the role of prosecutors and prosecutorial agencies in this story is often overlooked. This essay, written for the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics Symposium on the Conscience and Culture of Prosecution, highlights the emergence of the "smart on crime" reform movement and argues that prosecutors should endeavor to serve as engines of criminal justice reform. (excerpt)

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