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Neighbourhood Disputes

Restorative processes provide an opportunity for neighbours to develop their own solutions to their conflicts while building more understanding and stronger relationships.

How could a young man be killed over something so small?
from the editorial in the Times-Picayune: Tokoyo Palmer, a 17-year-old student active in junior varsity basketball, band and ROTC at Landry-Walker High School, was shot to death Monday morning while walking to his bus stop. He was wearing his school uniform and carrying a backpack. He was killed, New Orleans police say, over a borrowed Xbox video controller worth $40. That a child could die over something so slight is horrifying.... A disagreement that should have been settled easily and peacefully instead ended with a young man shot multiple times on his way to school.
Restorative justice scheme helps settle more than 90 neighbourhood disputes
from the article in the Telegraph & Argus: Nearly 100 neighbourhood disputes have been resolved through an innovative restorative justice scheme in Bradford. The Neighbourhood Resolution Panel brings criminals face-to-face with their victims to agree, with trained volunteers, on restorative action in the community where low level crime or anti-social behaviour has taken place.
Restorative justice helps communities in Darlington come together, according to volunteer Rosie Dixon
from the article in the Northern Echo: Restorative justice is helping fractured communities come together, according to a passionate volunteer. Rosie Dixon, 22, devotes her spare time to working with Darlington’s Neighbourhood Resolution scheme, which works to resolve neighbourhood disputes using restorative approaches.
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."
What I’ve learned as a Neighborhood Court facilitator
From the article by Judith MacBrine on The Davis Enterprise: On June 6, I facilitated my first Neighborhood Court session. I am one of seven trained facilitators. I was drawn to Neighborhood Court because it uses restorative justice principles to resolve crimes — i.e., identify and repair the harms — as compared to our current punitive justice — i.e., identify the broken law and punish the offender. With all of the problems associated with the criminal justice system — cost, overcrowding, lag time, recidivism, discrimination — I am thrilled to help find another way to justice. I didn’t expect, however, to be personally impacted by the process.
Oakland activist helps troubled young men heal from trauma
From the article by Matt O'Brien on Contra Costa Times: It might seem strange, to those with a dim view of them, to witness young men with gang affiliations and juvenile records gathered in a ceremonial circle and disclosing their deepest regrets. But for George Galvis, this is the way people are supposed to resolve their problems. Everyone, he said, wants their voices heard.
Joy in the dirty work of restorative justice
from the entry by John Lash on Juvenile Justice Information Exchange: ....The tension between the study of a topic and the subsequent conversion of ideas into actual work exists in all endeavors, something I have been thinking about as I prepare a training weekend for people interested in learning about restorative justice. There is a purity in theory, a beauty reminiscent of the idealism of Plato and Pythagoras, that is fun to engage. Working in this realm is a kind of game, fun, yet ultimately empty without the willingness to get out in the world and get dirty. In a training environment we seek to balance this tension in a way that honors both aspects of reality. We want to transmit the underlying principles while also showing how things “really” work.
Community court set to go on trial
from the article in the Manchester Evening News: A project where ‘community courts’ decide how to punish criminals is to be trialled in Stockport. ….Low-level criminals and their victims will be brought together in front of a special panel, which will decide what community punishment to dish out. ….Rebecca Green, from ROC, said: “We looked at Brinnington as we are already established in the community with the cafe and there needs to be trust there. “The area can be highlighted as having problems so this scheme will have a good impact there.
Could restorative justice bring education antagonists together?
from the article by Pat Schneider in the Capital Times: It’s a painful irony for Ananda Mirilli that the School Board run she tried to use to call the community to come together to do better for Madison kids ended up embroiled in such controversy. ….Mirilli, a Latina who lost her bid for Seat 5 on the Madison School Board in the Feb. 18 primary, decided against a write-in campaign when primary winner Sarah Manski dropped out of the race just two days later. But Mirilli hasn’t given up hope that the election — despite Manski’s surprise withdrawal and the allegations of dirty politics and hypocrisy it incited — can yet be made an occasion to bring together people now sometimes working at odds to improve education in Madison schools. And as the Restorative Justice Program manager at YWCA Madison, Mirilli is wondering if restorative justice principles might be the way to do it.
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.
"The public wants to be involved": A roundtable conversation about community and restorative justice
from the report by Robert V. Wolf for the Center for Court Innovation: When participants were asked to list the goals of community engagement, six areas attracted broad support: 1. Empowering communities While the concept of giving community members more power is a key ingredient of many initiatives, the nature of the power varies. In San Francisco’s Neighborhood Courts, community volunteers have the authority to determine guilt and can even dismiss cases while volunteers on Atlanta’s restorative justice panels can only adjust the terms of a sentence handed down by a court. For defenders, empowerment involves education—specifically educating the public about the role of defense organizations and navigating the justice system. “Our goal is to help people understand what we do and clarify our role and to trust us,” said James Berry, of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. “We don’t feel an obligation to promote the police or prosecutors, but we do have an interest in helping people to understand what we do and how we help to balance the equation.”
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.
Restorative justice at OWS
from the post by Stephan Geras on ZNet: ....However these “deeply personalized” new democratic processes will of necessity encounter obstacles and trip blocks which can bring to the surface individual and collective hurt or trauma; or in other words conflict which can obviously be strong enough to provoke violence. What’s referred to as the “cycle of violence” I interpret to mean that violence of any kind is internalized, whether it’s one on one or it’s a result of systemic mechanisms of oppression.
Restorative justice: making neighbourhood resolution panels work
from the article by Keith Cooper in the Guardian: The coalition pledge to boost communities' crime fighting power is due to take a big step forward next year. By March 2012, the Ministry of Justice hopes to announce the first group of officially endorsed neighbourhood resolution panels. These will usher in a new era of "restorative-justice", allowing panels of volunteers – including offenders and victims – to decide how low level crimes should be dealt with. Proceedings will be overseen by a trained member of the public instead of a magistrate or judge; lawyers are barred. The panels conclude with a signed agreement to which all parties agree.
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.
City, community groups express pride following protests
From Jill Replogle's article in Oakland North: As Oakland awaits next month’s sentencing of Johannes Mehserle, the BART police officer convicted last Thursday of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant, authorities, community groups and onlookers congratulated each other on the mostly non-violent protests that followed the verdict last Thursday. Joint planning among city, police and community groups helped keep the peace, they say.
Community justice alternative to sit-lie proposed
from the article on SF Appeal: A San Francisco supervisor today introduced alternative legislation to a proposed, controversial sit-lie ordinance that would be based on a community justice solutions and not simply police enforcement. Board president David Chiu said the ordinance he's proposing would be "a neighborhood-based community justice model" that could serve as an alternative or complement to legislation offered by Mayor Gavin Newsom. Newsom's ordinance, supported by Police Chief George Gascon, would make it unlawful to sit or lie on a public sidewalk between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Dispute Resolution Foundation gets $34 million injection from EU
from the Jamaica Information Service: The work of the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF) has been bolstered by a J$34 million injection from the European Union for a project dubbed 'We Want Justice'. The project, which aims to advance democratic rights, through the promotion of alternative dispute resolution, was launched Thursday (March 4), at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston. It aims to carry out its mandate through mediation, arbitration and restorative justice practices.
Chicago teens encourage nonviolent actions
by David Schaper on npr.org: In Chicago, the problem of youth violence is difficult to escape or ignore. After the highly publicized beating death of a Chicago teenager in September, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited the city and called for a national conversation on youth violence. More than a month later, Chicagoans are talking. Some teens are spending long hours strategizing about how to stop violence, but still others voice frustration over attacks that remain a constant in their lives.

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