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The Case for Restorative Justice

Articles and other resources that present the rationale for adopting and expanding restorative justice.

Restorative justice and the rebirth of Chicago
From the article by Robert Koehler on Huffington Post: This is the context in which restorative justice is emerging as a social force. This is not a government program. Elements of government are catching on and embracing RJ, but this is a social force as deeply grass-roots and fundamental as the civil rights movement. It's a movement based on healing and connecting and, as such, shifts our way of thinking from dominating and punishing -- and thus creating -- "enemies" to respecting all people, listening to them and seeking solutions to conflict that satisfy everyone's needs. At its core, RJ reclaims the tribal circle. We call it a peace circle: Every participant is equal and valued and safe to speak his or her truth in the peace circle. Amazing things can happen.
Interview with Jon Collins, Restorative Justice Council CEO
from the Restorative Justice Council website: “While there’s quite a lot of support for restorative justice now within the criminal justice context, I think that there’s work to do at the national level in other sectors - for example, in education, in care homes, in other areas where people come into conflict - to make sure that restorative practices can be rolled out across all those areas.”
The criminalization of black youth and the rise of restorative justice
from the article by Max Eternity in Truthout: Among extrajudicial deaths at the hands of police and white vigilantes, the tragic stories of Travon Martin and Oscar Grant have garnered media attention, but are also highly contested narratives. Less talked about is the institutionalized climate of fear that has been normalized for brown-skinned youth - the daily domestic terror by police. ....[This] insidious institutional problem continues to unfold. We examine it in... an on-site interview with Chief Allen Nance - the chief probation officer of San Francisco's Juvenile Hall - on June 13, 2014.
Restorative justice more effective for serious crime
from the press release by Rethinking Crime and Punishment: ....“Restorative Justice conferencing is more effective in cases of serious crime, particularly cases of violence, than in cases of property theft, or minor incidents. Overall, restorative justice conferencing, reduces reoffending by about 20%, with around 90% of victims registering satisfaction with the process, and indicating that it has helped them in the healing process.
Restorative justice gets boost with new spending
from the article on Radio New Zealand News: The Government is to spend more on restorative justice conferences: $4 million of new spending over two years has been earmarked in the Budget. The Government at present funds about 2000 restorative justice conferences each year at a cost of about $2.1 million.
Carolyn Shadle on Controversies around restorative justice
Thank you for bringing Restorative Justice to light. You may be interested in this adult curriculum which enables small study groups to learn about R.J. [...]
Minister overseeing justice reforms emphasizes neighbourhood justice
from the article by Owen Bowcott in the Guardian: ….One of Green's priorities is developing neighbourhood justice, a range of initiatives which include restorative justice and neighbourhood justice panels. Both place victims of crime at the centre of the process, enabling offenders to meet them and apologise directly. "These are neither soft options nor kangaroo courts," he said.
Legislation introducing restorative justice for victims of adult offenders in England and Wales announced
from Lizzie Nelson: New legislation for restorative justice with adult offenders and their victims will be introduced through an amendment to the Crime and Courts Bill. The new clauses will allow the Courts to defer at the pre-sentence stage in order for the victim and offender to be offered restorative justice at the earliest opportunity. This comes as part of the Government’s response to the Punishment and Reform; effective community sentences consultation, published today.
Isle of Man criminal justice system 'to reach 21st Century'
from the article on BBC News: Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson said "languishing in prison cells" was not a good way for inmates to "pay their debt to society". ....One of the key areas under scrutiny is dealing with offenders after they have served their jail term. "We already have community service but we could do more things around restorative justice, actually putting back what you have done wrong rather than low level beach cleans for example, which is what we have now," continued Mr Watterson.
GOP Platform
It's great they recognize the need for restorative practices. In that same section, however, they endorse continued use of long, mandatory sentences, against parole for [...]
2012 party platforms on criminal justice policy (US)
from the report by the Sentencing Project: The Washington Post recently reported that the gulf between Republicans and Democrats has never been wider. On issue after issue, the two major political parties often disagree in substantial ways. But in the area of criminal justice policy, we have seen in recent years the potential for a bipartisan consensus. A plurality of American voters say that too many people are in prison, and an overwhelming majority -- including voters across political, generational, and racial lines -- want policies that would exchange prisons for more effective alternatives. After nearly four decades of unprecedented expansion, a number of states have reduced prison capacity, even closing prisons, in recent years, thanks to innovative public policy. These advances suggest real momentum for reform.
Center for Restorative Activism
from the "Principles" page of Scott Brown's website: Here are some basic principles that help to frame what restorative activism is about: The historical moment calls on us to identify and focus on root causes. I believe the historical moment boils down to a choice between continuation with the life-denying worldview based on separateness, and a life affirming worldview based on the direct experience of interrelatedness. The belief in separateness can be singled out as a root cause of the crises we face and this shows us what we are really up against.
Spotlight on restorative justice
from the article by Andy Ho on Singapore Law Watch: Singapore courts practice a limited form of such restorative justice. For example, the Community Court here is given sentencing flexibility and can issue the Community Service Order (modelled after the Corrective Work Order for litterbugs). It may also call for a pre-trial conference of family of the accused - and sometimes of the victim - to explore compensation and get an undertaking to attend therapy and so on. But all this is for minor crimes, and still offender-focused, not designed with victims in mind.
How the 2012 GOP platform tackles criminal justice
from Vikrant P. Reddy's entry on Right on Crime: This week, during its quadrennial national convention, the Republican Party released its 2012 platform. The platform is yet another indicator of how conservative leaders are reapplying basic conservative principles to criminal justice. For example, the new platform contains language explicitly emphasizing the importance of prisoner reentry, a notable change from the 2008 platform which contained none. The new platform urges that “[p]risons should do more than punish; they should attempt to rehabilitate and institute proven prisoner reentry systems to reduce recidivism and future victimization.”
A tough job at Justice
from the article by Mark Easton on BBC News: If the Conservative right see the appointment of Chris Grayling as a signal that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is going to re-adopt the slogan "prison works" then I think they may be disappointed.
West Berkshire reaps benefit of restorative justice
from the press release on the West Berkshire Council website: New figures released by West Berkshire's Youth Offending Team show a dramatic drop in the number of young people entering the youth justice system for the first time. A fall of 48.7% is shown between January and December 2011 (compared with same period for 2010). The decline for the rest of England averages 19.3%. The team is a multi-agency partnership between Thames Valley Police, National Probation service, the Berkshire Health Care Foundation Trust and West Berkshire Council.
Restorative justice is the law
by Dan Van Ness Heartspeak Productions is a remarkable Canadian group that describes itself as "on a continual quest to learn about & share the principles and best practices of restorative justice." It does this by creating excellent videos exploring dimensions of restoration. Fraser Community Justice Initiatives Association is a community NGO also in Canada that for 25 years has developed programs and training that help people in conflict find good resolutions.
Restorative justice and dialogue: Impact, opportunities, and challenges in the global community
from the article by Mark Umbreit and Marilyn Peterson Armour in the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy: The restorative justice movement is built on a foundational vision of an entirely different way of understanding and responding to crime and conflict. In some instances, restorative justice is seen as a replacement for the criminal justice system. In others, it is seen as an option to use when the current situation has failed to bring about its intended purpose. Under other circumstances, restorative justice is viewed as complementary to the criminal justice system because it attends to issues that the traditional system neglects.
The future place of restorative justice in the criminal justice system
from the speech by Justice Minister Lord McNally: I am an ardent supporter of the principles of restorative justice. It offers an opportunity not only to assist the rehabilitation of offenders but to give victims a greater stake in the resolution of offences and in the criminal justice system as a whole. Victim-led restorative justice can allow us to make inroads into the re-offending cycle – with the triple benefit of victims avoiding the trauma of future crimes, the tax payer not having to foot the bill of more crime, and a rehabilitated offender making a positive contribution to society. As many of you know far better than me, the evidence for the effectiveness of restorative justice is promising. Analysis conducted by my department of a number of restorative justice pilots showed that 85% of victims who participated were satisfied with the experience and there was an estimated 14% reduction in re-offending.
I agree
I agree to the comment by Lassi regarding the police won't touch me attitude and how it enables further criminal activity. But I also agree [...]

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