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Hate Crime

Restorative justice and hate crime victims and perpetrators.

Courage to repair
from the editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: A racist prank perpetrated outside the University of Missouri's Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center 11 days ago has evoked a reassuring response. The two undergraduates — Zachary E. Tucker and Sean D. Fitzgerald — tried to make a mockery of the bitter history of black servitude. They scattered cotton balls outside the culture center under cover of night. But their crude handiwork was greeted with sharp and universal condemnation. Both students were identified and suspended from school. Last week, they were arrested. The Boone County prosecutor is weighing whether to pursue criminal charges.
Why I don't support hate crime legislation
Jos, writing at Community based forms of restorative justice that empower those who are targeted by violence and work to eradicate the bigotry that leads to such crimes in the first place are a much more valuable change to work toward than empowering our current criminal justice system even more. Violence targeted at members of oppressed communities must be recognized and addressed, but harsher prison sentences are not the way.
Martin Luther King and life after hate
from the entry by Evelyn Zellerer on Peace of the Circle: ....“The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality.” [Martin Luther King]
Tougher legislation needed on hate crimes
from Kristopher Wells and Murray Billett's article in the Edmonton Journal: ....Here in Canada, the gravity of hate crimes was officially recognized in 1970, when the government amended the Criminal Code to include hate propaganda as a punishable offence. In 1996, the government also introduced enhanced sentencing provisions for offences motivated by hate, and in 2001 included mischief to religious property as a specific hate-motivated offence. Despite this evolution, we argue that these legislative responses to hate have not gone far enough. The problem most concerning to many diverse communities and law enforcement officials involves the fact that there are still no direct provisions in the Criminal Code to identify hate crime as a violent offence (such as assault) or as a crime against a person or individual property (such as vandalism).
Partnering with police to do restorative justice
from the article in PeaceBuilder: ....“Chief Wetherbee called me throughout the week at SPI,” Larson Sawin recalls with a smile. “I suspected he’d be wary of the ritual components of SPI, but the coursework caught his imagination. He said the days went so quickly, five o’clock would roll around and he felt like the day had just started.” At first, some of his SPI classmates were skeptical that police – often considered a fundamentally coercive force – could play a positive role in RJ processes. If only they had known the full scope of what was happening in Massachusetts.
Exploring restorative justice response to hate crimes against Sikhs
'Diaper head,' 'terrorist,' 'taliban,' 'towel-head' are some of the few names which have been in increased use since 9/11 against those believed to be Muslims or members of the Taliban in the United States as well as in Canada. Although not all, some of the victims in such cases are normally not members of any terrorist group but a part of the Sikh faith which emerges from India with no intention of 'bombing' anything or place- brining no harm to anyone despite the hate crimes being inflicted on the group itself. Through widespread portrayal of the turbaned man as the terrorist or Muslims as the Taliban, various groups who conform to a similar identity (i.e. especially Sikhs) have been attempting to face such hate crimes and misunderstandings in the name of terrorism since 9/11. This paper will attempt to approach the hate crimes which have been inflicted particularly on the Sikh community since the attack on the World Trade Centre, 2001, through a restorative means to seek for answers in order to deal with the victims of attack in addition to the larger community.
Gavrielides, Theo. Conceptualising and contextualising restorative justice for hate crimes.
The concepts of restorative justice and hate crime are relatively new for contemporary policy and criminal justice practice. An impressive literature on the application of restorative justice initatives in response to hate crimes is currently being developed. This paper takes a step back with the aim of creating a more in-depth understanding of the concepts’ relationship. The paper is based on the findings of a three-year project that used a combination of qualitative methodologies including desk research and fieldwork. International case studies using restorative justice for hate crime were identified while a small-scale qualitative study was carried out with UK policy makers, practitioners and hate crime victims and offenders. (Author's abstract)
hate crimes & restorative justice
This is a very interesting subject. I think the author is right that restorative justice can and should be applied in cases of hate crime. [...]
Restorative, sure. . .but for everyone, not just haters
At the risk of offending many--I have to disagree with the conclusion that a crime is somehow made worse by its motivation. I do not [...]
Red flags and Restorative Justice
The idea that an individual is 'made' to write an apology letter is the first red flag for me that is an indicator that whoever [...]
Whitlock, Katherine. In a time of broken bones: A call to dialogue on hate violence and the limitations of hate crimes legislation
As defined by the first hate crimes laws, such crimes consist of harmful actions (e.g., harassment, intimidation, violence, and murder) perpetrated against another person because of that person's race, national origin, or religion. Currently, many advocate the extension of hate crime legislation to include harmful acts against people identified in terms of categories such as gender, sexual preference, and disabilities. Would the extension of hate crime legislation be a good thing? As stated in this paper, when harm is done to another on the basis of hatred for some distinguishing characteristic, it is right to seek justice in response. Yet, Katherine Whitlock asks, what is justice in this context? Whitlock casts a vision of 'healing justice' rooted in resistance to wrongdoing but oriented toward transformation and restoration rather than more extensive and severe punishment. In this paper she presents a careful challenge to consider the limitations and unintended harmful consequences of many hate laws as currently formulated.
‘Restorative justice’ brings closure to Hopkins High School racial insensitivity dispute
From the article in the Golden Valley Patch: Prosecutors have dropped misdemeanor charges against two Hopkins High School students who protested alleged racial insensitivity at the school, and the district has overturned the students’ suspensions, according to a joint statement from the school district and the students' attorney. The actions follow a “restorative justice” process initiated to bring closure to a February confrontation between black students and school officials that led to a student walkout in May.
Prison for teen who lit "agender" youth's skirt on fire thwarts healing
from the article by Sue Burrell on HuffPost: The news of Richard Thomas' seven-year prison sentence raises fresh questions about how the justice system intervenes in dangerous, but clearly adolescent behavior. Richard, age 16, was prosecuted in a California adult court after setting on fire the skirt of 18-year-old "Sasha" Fleischman, who was asleep on a local bus. Sasha identifies as "agender" meaning neither male nor female. Three days after the incident, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office charged Richard as an adult, alleging assault and aggravated mayhem as hate crimes. The charging decision completely bypassed the juvenile court system....
Young racists and victims come face to face in new justice scheme
from the article on Bristol24-7: ...Claimed to be the first of its kind in the country, the scheme aims to tackle hate crimes among the city’s young people. Young people aged 16 to 24 who have acted in a racist or prejudicial way will be brought together with their victims in a controlled setting to talk about what happened between them and how a similar situation can be prevented.
Ray, Larry and Dixon, Liz. Current issues and developments in race hate crime.
This article considers the ‘hate agenda’ as a model for interventions targeted at race hate crime. The authors consider current initiatives in different agencies and make some comparisons between the American and British experience.
Tubman-Carbone, Heather. The Use of Restorative Justice to Inform Penalty Enhancements for Hate Crimes
Hate crimes present a unique brand of violence. Compared to their non-bias motivated counterparts, hate crimes’ inherent potential for harm is increased appreciably by victim interchangeability and secondary victimization; additionally, bias crime can escalate from individual conflicts to mass disturbances. These features of hate crimes render them subject to penalty enhancements under law in the United States. However, analysis of the current implementation of penalty enhancements illustrates the discord between their intended purpose and that which they ultimately serve. Penalty enhancements are overwhelmingly punitive and offender based. The unique harm of hate crimes, and justification for penalty enhancements is victim-based. The restorative justice model offers an alternative. An implementation styled on restorative justice addresses those aspects of hate crimes which warrant the enhancement. This paper employs the terminology of restorative justice style. Rather than adhering strictly to the restorative model, the process at issue will take place within the system and its goal will be to provide a restorative component which may differ from the sentencing goal for the underlying offense. The restorative justice model serves the needs of penalty enhancements without being impeded by controversy concerning its standing as a goal or model of punishment. This has the greatest potential for effectiveness with juveniles convicted of misdemeanors. (author's abstract)
Sapir, Brian . Healing a Fractured Community: The Use of Community Sentencing Circles in Response to Hate Crimes
"Within the Restorative Justice community of the United States, circle sentencing (also known as community circles, peacemaking circles, or healing circles ) has evolved since the early 1990's as an effective way of healing the harm that the offender's crime has done to the community, as well as getting to the root of the problems which may have contributed to the offender's actions in the first place. ... The victim is given an opportunity to voice his or her fear and rage at being victimized; the victim also has a chance to hear the offender's story and gain a better understanding of why the crime occurred; and lastly the victim walks away from the situation with reparations and a sense of having been involved in the justice process and an overall feeling of closure. ... Americans must learn from the experiences of post September 11 not only to prepare for and prevent such crimes, but also to provide victims and communities with the appropriate tools to handle the fear and anger resulting from such victimization. ... The exclusion of the community from the healing process by Victim-Offender Mediation and other Restorative Justice programs makes Sentencing Circles the ideal technique to be used in hate crime cases. ... While Circles have primarily dealt with non-violent offenses, it is a stark reality that hate crimes manifest themselves in a spectrum of offenses including the ultra-violent." (Excerpt from Author)
Pugh, Catherine. What do you get when you add Megan Williams to Matthew Sheppard and victim-offender mediation? A hate crime law that prosecutors will actually want to use.
Part II details the most significant obstacle undermining pursuit of hate crimes, proving motive. Part III addresses the fissure between society’s needs and a prosecutor’s objectives when it comes to hate crimes pursuit. Further, this section examines shortcomings of society’s one-dimensional approach to punishing hate crimes. Part IV considers the current federal hate crimes laws, followed by a brief comparison between current and proposed law. This section concludes with a discussion on how proposed law can potentially overcome state obstacles. Part V considers an adjustment to proposed laws. That is, it suggests that Congress incorporate VOM into hate crimes penalties by (1) amending current legislation to include public funding for departments of corrections VOM programs; and, (2) developing guidelines and procedures for the Bureau of Prisons to accommodate VOM use within the federal penal system. This comment evaluates the benefits of VOM from three perspectives: first, how folding VOM into the judicial process can potentially entice prosecutors to pursue hate crimes because in at least cases of non-violent hate, a conviction is assured; next, how the restorative justice approach can further cure the actual damage from both non- and severely-violent hate crimes; and finally, how offender confrontation offers more of a long-term cure than the current incarceration-only approach. Finally, in Part VI, we return to Megan Williams and West Virginia State Prosecutor Brian Abrahams, and consider their circumstances as a way to model the question of hate crimes management for the larger legal community and general public. (excerpt)
Hate crime victims to face offenders
from the article by Jonathan Kalmus in the Jewish Chronicle Online: Greater Manchester Police are to ask antisemitic offenders to face their victims. A restorative justice scheme piloted across GMP since November gives hate crime victims the option of meeting the perpetrators to explain the impact of racism and receive an apology. Victims can also ask a representative to meet the offender, request community service as a punishment for them, or opt for criminal proceedings.
Seeking ‘peace on this earth’: Detailing the need for Alabama to offer a formal state apology
from Ben Greenberg's article in The Anniston Star: Two local governments in southeast Alabama are expected to issue an apology for a 1944 rape of a black woman by several white men, none of whom were ever prosecuted. ....Asked if the apology would also be on behalf of the state, Grimsley said, “We haven’t addressed that level yet.” ....“Clearly there should be an apology from the state here as well as the county,” said Professor Margaret Burnham, director of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Program at Northeastern University School of Law. “Each failed to pursue the investigation aggressively and promptly, and more generally afforded utter impunity to white men who raped black women. Such a statement would not only honor Recy Taylor and her family for their courage and tenacity in seeking justice, but it would speak to scores of victims who similarly suffered in silence.”

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