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Addressing Needs

Many community or neighbourhood conflicts can result from underlying causes. Through restorative processes, individuals caught up in such disputes can develop an understanding of the underlying needs or causes and develop strategies for meeting these.

In Camden, young ex-offenders spread antiviolence message
from the article on philly.com: Wilson Rodriguez thought he had something worthwhile to say, but he wondered why a young audience would listen to a 21-year-old parolee convicted as a teenager in the bludgeoning death of a sleeping homeless man. He told more than a dozen youngsters in an event hosted by the Camden Board of Education he and his friends "did something horrible and someone ended up dying."
mariannesong on Retaking our streets: Restorative justice in the city of St. Francis
My daughter is a missing/murdered person.It happened in 2003.We have yet to find her remains. She is still a missing person. It is a terrible [...]
Retaking our streets: Restorative justice in the city of St. Francis
from the article by George Wesolek in Catholic San Francisco: ....The fact that this mindless violence (even though there is a distorted, revenge-oriented gang rationale) is perpetrated by 14-year-old children in some cases, reminds us of futuristic predictions in novels such as “Clockwork Orange” and the like. Killing, for revenge and even for fun, is becoming embedded in the culture, an evil, systemic pall creeping through our streets and into our families and communities and settling there as an alien host. Families in this community live in fear.
Peacemaking circles become a way of living on Chicago’s South Side
from Ken Butigan's article on waginNonviolence.org: “Four friends of mine were killed this summer,” Jonathan Little tells a group of college students visiting Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, a kind of peace zone in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. The young man’s voice is somber but composed, as if he has taken the full measure of this abyss of suffering. He has decided that it’s his duty to honor the dead by methodically pushing on with the work — the quest, really — of finding a way out of the storm of violence that bears down on the young in the precincts of poverty and institutionalized racism on the South Side of Chicago.
The Interrupters: A story of restorative justice
from the article by Josh Larsen on Capital Commentary: The interrupters program is based on the work of epidemiologist Gary Slutkin, who compares the spread of violence to the spread of infectious diseases. The interrupters try to stop the infection at its fountainhead, which is where Matthews lives—at the source.
Volunteer hopes McKnight award will bring attention to Somali issues
from Madeleine Baran's report on Minnesota Public Radio: "You have to understand that these are youth who have probably never seen Somalia ... and were born in a refugee camp," Ali, 40, said. "So the best they saw is a hardened kind of life, survival of the fittest. The prime time of their life has been lost, when they could be held, be loved, and play and eat." In response to the study's findings, Ali founded the Center for Multicultural Mediation and Restorative Justice Program. The Minneapolis-based organization holds restorative justice sessions with Somali youth who have been arrested for shoplifting and other offenses. Each session also includes the parents and a community member. "The (community member) will say, 'It's not good for us. You're doing harm to the Somali community, to your family, to everybody in the neighborhood,'" Ali said.
Community justice: Not to you or for you, but with you
by Christa Pierpont. The “magic” of restorative practices comes from a principled belief that when there is a breach in relationships, people can re-story their lives (often in gifted ways), given an active and supported responsibility to do so. It is clear from the research report, Restorative Justice: The Evidence, (Lawrence W. Sherman and Heather Strang, Smith Institute, 2007) that individuals can transcend large and small wrongs in a highly satisfactory way with improved long-term consequences when restorative practices are used. Our next question was: Could this opportunity be expanded from individuals to a wider sense of cultural harms?
Community justice: Not to you or for you, but with you
by Christa Pierpont. This is a selection of an article from a special online complement to the Summer 2008 issue of ACResolution, Vol 7, Issue 4. The Association for Conflict Resolution has given permission for it to be used on RJOnline. The complete article is attached. The “magic” of restorative practices comes from a principled belief that when there is a breach in relationships, people can re-story their lives (often in gifted ways), given an active and supported responsibility to do so. It is clear from the research report, Restorative Justice: The Evidence, (Lawrence W. Sherman and Heather Strang, Smith Institute, 2007) that individuals can transcend large and small wrongs in a highly satisfactory way with improved long-term consequences when restorative practices are used. Our next question was: Could this opportunity be expanded from individuals to a wider sense of cultural harms? In particular, could restorative processes begin to address underlying racial anger and fears in our region without exacerbating negative economic realities? These questions grew out of dynamics we were discovering as we explored the history of public school education in Virginia. When the RCF studied school disciplinary statistics for public schools, we found a significantly higher rate of disciplinary action for low-income and minority youth. Efforts are now being made to reduce out-of-classroom placements and to transition to more restorative disciplinary practices, but it will take decades and funding to re-build skills for individuals who have given up on the public school system.
Wright, Martin. Mobilizing the community for crime prevention.Paper to international conference on ‘The role of community restorative justice centres in the juvenile justice system’, Ukrainian Centre for Common Ground, Kyiv, 19-20 April 2007.
This paper will discuss some of these questions, and suggest the role of restorative justice in answering them. First it will consider restorative approaches in schools and in the community, and their contribution to the reduction of harm. Then it will consider how restorative justice can be used at various stages of the process when harm, or crime, has taken place, and the community’s role in this. Finally it will return to the question of prevention. (excerpt)
Weil, Marie and Carlton-LaNey, Iris and Macgowan, Mark J and Waites, Cheryl and Pennell, Joan. Increasing the Cultural Responsiveness of Family Group Conferencing
Child welfare struggles to manage child abuse and neglect and to seek permanency for children, while being culturally responsive to the communities it serves. Family group conferencing, piloted in New Zealand and now used in the United States and other countries, is a strengths-based model that brings together families and their support systems to develop and carry out a plan that protects, nurtures, and safeguards children and other family members. This article describes the model and a culturally competent method for assessing and adapting the model for the African American, Cherokee, and Latino/Hispanic communities in North Carolina. Author's abstract.
Rundell, Frida. The Seer’s Eyes: Re-storyng the Umlazi community.
Van Rensburg, a community psychologist states that “ with the growing trend to move toward globalisation of health, health policy, and health care, a set of processes are in place where unprecedented interconnectedness is blurring a variety of boundaries and transforming the nature of human interaction across a wide range of spheres. This in turn, increases economic, political and social interdependence. ( Van Rensburg, 2004). The Umlazi project addresses the opportunity for blurring some of those professional boundaries. It was an opportunity for a tertiary institution, Durban Institute of Technology and a non-profit organisation called Mzamo Guidance Clinic in the Umlazi area to work together in establishing a partially restorative practice. The insight was to promote interconnectedness across health care systems at an early intervention level that did not exist before. (excerpt)
McDonough, Ian. Community Mediation and Community Development In Scotland.
Over 3000 community conflicts in Scotland are resolved through Community Mediation each year. The NGO Sacro has developed a series of manuals for developing a Community Mediation service. The final manual addresses the role of community mediation in fostering community development. In this article, Ian McDonough, mediation adviser for Sacro, provides an overview of the manual with a link to the full-text.
Gilbert, Kara Marie. Youth Voices of Bounty and Opportunity: High School Students' Experiences with Food and Community.
Currently, garden-based research does not include input from young adults about their experiences and perspectives as individuals in garden-based programs, specifically those that address issues of food and community. To address this void, this qualitative research examines youth perspectives and engagement in garden-based community projects in Olympia, Washington, and Medford, Oregon. The sample of 11 students was chosen from these projects that use food as a means to engage the community and educate underprivileged young adults about local food systems. The main question that the research addresses is: Why, and in what ways, are young adults appropriate agents for community revitalizing garden-based projects? Using open-ended interviews, field notes and observations, the research draws upon theories of food access, community development, social and environmental justice, and nontraditional education. The findings suggest that when young adults are involved in garden-based community projects, they are learning life skills, developing leadership, engaging in models of nontraditional education, and retaining perspectives of grass-roots community development. It is evident from the research and emerging themes that young adults desire to accept responsibility in their community. It is time to harness young people’s energy, care, compassion, and dedication so that they can act as ambassadors to dispel the class-based ideologies of the current food systems, empowering under-served communities and celebrating youth’s perspectives on food and place. (Excerpt).
Wachtel, Joshua. Toward Peace and Justice in Brazil: Dominic Barter and Restorative Circles.
In 2004 the Brazilian Ministry of Justice received a small UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) grant to launch the country’s first official restorative justice (RJ) pilot projects. Recognizing the unique social context of urban violence in Brazil, the projects brought together school administrators, judges, court workers, prison authorities, social service agencies and local community leaders to create a broad restorative response to the most challenging breakdowns in community safety. While justly known for their creative celebration of life, Brazilians also live with glaring wealth imbalances and the normalization of violence: Murder is the principle cause of death for people under 25. (excerpt)
Schatz, Mona. Vital Voice for Restorative Justice: The Community Members
"This chapter introduces some of the ideas and perceptions of community members who participate in a restorative justice conferencing process in a Colorado community. Some of the information presented emerged from a case study done by the author and graduate social work student (Jaeckel, 2005)." (Abstract)
Roche, Declan. Governing ungoverned spaces: the role of one women’s group in Cali, Colombia
In Cali, Colombia, a group of women from the District of Aguablanca is helping to bring peace and justice to one of the country’s poorest and most violent turban areas. Using skills and information disseminated through a network of weekly meetings, local women assist local residents both by providing a range of essential services – from mediation to adult education – and by referring residents to other service providers and resources in the community. This group, which is strikingly community-based, female, well-led, disciplined, and holistic, is now being touted as a model for communities elsewhere in Colombia. Communities, policy-makers and restorative justice advocates – both in Colombia and abroad – can learn much from their approach to restorative justice, and more broadly, from their network-based approach to governing ungoverned spaces. Much of the debate about the conflict in Colombia focuses on national events and neglects the efforts of local communities to nurture peace and justice in their immediate environment. The Aguablanca program demonstrates that local initiatives can make a big difference in the lives of ordinary Colombians. To replicate the success of this program in communities elsewhere, however, it will be necessary to identify local citizens who can provide the same leadership and commitment as the women of Aguablanca. Author’s abstract.
Cooper, Davalene. The Bhopal Disaster Approaches 25: Looking Back to Look Forward: Thinking About Justice "Outside of the Box:" Could Restorative Justice Practices Create Justice for Victims of International Disasters?
Using the Union Carbide plant disaster in Bhopal, India, the author suggests how restorative justice practices, particularly the truth commission, could be implemented in events of corporate negligence and abuse.
Lustig, Eric A.. The Bhopal Disaster Approaches 25: Looking Back to Look Forward: Foreword
A discussion of the complexities of reparation in cases of corporate abuse and negligence, particularly illustrated by an event in Bhopal, India, when a Union Carbide plant exploded and severely impacted the slums nearby.
Gordon, Diana R.. Deepening democracy through community dispute resolution: problems and prospects in South Africa and Chile.
Post-apartheid South Africa and post-Pinochet Chile have taken significant steps to democratize justice. This article acknowledges conventional reforms of both countries' criminal justice systems but focuses primarily on case studies of participatory and restorative initiatives that have attempted to expand the theory and practice of public safety practices in non-state settings. The experience of resolving interpersonal disputes in new democracies and what it means for the people who do it is examined. The research hypothesized that public participation in matters of justice and security can foster more active citizenship, a contribution to deepening democracy in countries in transition, as South Africa and Chile have been since the early 1990s. The experiences of the Community Peace Program and the Barrio Sin Violencia shed light on both the potential and the limitations of efforts to deepen democracy through community dispute resolution. They suggest that whether or not public participation in matters of justice and security fosters more active citizenship in democratizing countries depends on complex cultural and historical influences, including perspectives on sources of authority, institutional patterns of justice, and mutual trust.(excerpt)

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