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Articles and other resources on issues raised by police involvement in restorative justice practices.

RJC's response to the Victim's Code consultation paper
from the Restorative Justice Council: ....Requests for information about restorative justice 1. The duty on the police to direct victims to information on restorative justice and how they can take part is a hugely welcome development which will help make more restorative processes victim-led. 2. In our experience even victims who are aware of restorative justice and want to access it frequently come up against poor awareness among Criminal Justice System professionals about what restorative justice is, when it might be appropriate and whether it is locally available. This duty therefore has the potential to radically improve the experience of thousands of victims who could benefit from restorative justice.
ACPO publish Restorative Justice Guidance and Minimum Standards
from the Restorative Justice Council: The Association of Chief Police Officers has published Restorative Justice Guidance and Minimum Standards. Police forces local procedures should complement these ACPO standards and refer to RJC Best Practice Guidance for Restorative Practice (2011) for more detailed guidance.
Durham's chief constable wants restorative justice
from the article by Neil McKay for the Evening Chronicle: Britain's newest chief constable has revealed he does not dislike criminals. Mike Barton, who is heading up the Durham force, made the admission as he was officially confirmed as the man in charge yesterday. But he quickly added: “I hate what they do, that is why I am in favour of a restorative justice programme.
Restorative justice "is a postcode lottery"
from the article on The report said that restorative justice does offer benefits to victims, offenders and communities and it is being used in all areas of the criminal justice system – but patchy take-up and inconsistent application mean that not all victims, offenders and communities are able to benefit.
Kidderminster magistrate concerned about cases dealt with outside court
from the article by William Tomaney in The Shuttle: In the area covered by West Merica Police - Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin - 3,594 community resolutions were handed out in 2010/11, compared to 2,167 in 2009/10. Chairman of the bench at Kidderminster Magistrates Court, Jill Gramann, said magistrates thought the figure was too high.
Restorative Justice in the Greater Manchester Police
from the report by Baxter, Schoeman and Goffin called Innovation in justice: New delivery models and better outcomes: ....The first of the five aims, to reduce crime, is an area where GMP has had significant success in recent years. A key part of the crime reduction strategy is to “make more use of Restorative Justice to give victims the opportunity to challenge offenders and make them understand the consequences of their behaviour”. In a criminal Justice context, victims are given the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime, to get answers and to get an apology. This helps offenders understand the real impact of what they’ve done and holds them to account for it while also helping victims to get on with their lives. To some extent, RJ runs counter to the culture that developed within police forces in response to central government targets because it can adversely affect the statistics traditionally used to assess police performance. Performance was measured against targets such as the numbers of sanctioned detections (where an offender is charged, cautioned, reported for summons, reprimanded, the offence is taken into consideration or where a fixed penalty notice is issued), the numbers of stop and search events and numbers of arrests. The last of these central government policing targets was removed in 2010.
Leicestershire Pc Sandie to give US cops policing lesson
from the article in This Is Leicestershire: New York State's police are to get a lesson in policing from a county copper. Pc Sandie Hastings will be heading across the Atlantic for a two-week stint with a US police department to teach its officers about restorative justice. The 58-year-old has been responsible for training her Leicestershire colleagues – and thousands from other British forces – in the concept, in which offenders are made to put right the consequences of their crimes rather than face court action. She will explain the idea to the officers of Rochester Police Department, who patrol the city with the highest per capita homicide rate in New York State.
Child Justice Act undercut from within
from the article by Don Pinnock in the Mail & Guardian Online: Even before it began the rocky climb through the parliamentary process, the Child Justice Bill was considered to be internationally path-breaking legislation. It was born in the euphoria of the early 1990s in a country where youth had been considered politically lethal, whipping was a sentence, imprisonment the standard response to wrongdoing and torture considered a legitimate interrogation method. The new legislation sought to provide restorative justice by diverting child offenders from this punitive justice system and keeping them out of prisons, which simply hardened criminality. It devised ways to work with offenders and victims to restore harmony in the community where the crime took place. Punishment would be tailored to the crime and dealt in a way that maintained the self-respect of the offender as well as the approval of both community and victim.
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.
Call for restorative justice review
from the article on UTV News: Schemes carried out by Community Restorative Justice Ireland need to be reviewed according to an independent report. A Criminal Justice Inspection report has revealed only one case has been referred by the community restorative justice system to police in Northern Ireland since 2007. ....The 19-page report, found despite four recommendations being fully achieved and one partially achieved, several issues remain to be addressed.
Restorative justice vs perfomance targets....
from UKPOLICEONLINE Discussion Forum: Hello all, My force are introducing restorative justice as an alternative to court, and this will primarily be aimed at young offenders. Restorative justice has received a mixed reception and was hoping forum members could share their thoughts and experiences from their own forces. I think its a good idea, and a move away from chasing performance targets has got to be a good think, or are performance targets still applied?? any thoughts gratefully received. Read the interesting responses....
Ex-Chicago Cop on trial for torturing confessions from hundreds of Black Men
from Jeff Mays' article on ....Flint Taylor, an attorney who represented many clients who say they were tortured by Burge, said the next battle is to change the laws regarding torture. "Well, that's the statute of limitations problem and one of the many unaddressed issues in Chicago. We are very pleased that Burge is being prosecuted, but there is much left to do, and that includes dealing with federal and state statutes, legislation that would make torture a specific crime," said Taylor. "And since it's a crime against humanity, there would be no statute of limitations, like there is no statute of limitations for genocide or murder. And in that instance, in the future, if there were another Burge or other torture -- another torture ring and it were covered up successfully for many years, then he could still or they could still be prosecuted for torture," Taylor added.
Call the police?
from Lorenn Walker's entry on Restorative Justice & Other Public Health Approaches for Healing: Randy Cohen, The Ethicist, who writes an insightful and often humorous column for the New York Times Magazine, made a good case for using restorative justice recently. He answered a question asked by a restaurant manager if he should call the police on a server who was caught stealing. Mr. Cohen said no! He pointed out the failings of our justice system in clear and undeniable terms. The sever too had admitted guilt and offered to pay back the money. Instead of calling the police and applying our failed criminal justice system, the manager could have tied a restorative justice intervention. It could have met the needs of both of the manager and the server more than the criminal justice system.
One-third of police chiefs 'oppose restorative justice'
by Neil Puffett on Children and Young People Now: One-third of chief constables in England and Wales are opposed to the use of restorative justice, it has been claimed. Supporters of the initiative, which can see young people meet victims of their crime and make amends, argue it can drastically reduce re-offending rates through making offenders come to terms with the consequences of their actions. But temporary chief constable of Merseyside Police, Bernard Lawson, said the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) is divided on the principle.
Abramson, Alana Marie. Restorative Justice Initiatives and the Police: A sustainable relationship or competing values?
Restorative justice is a way of viewing the world that has been embraced by many different people who walk a range of life paths. This paradigm is increasingly being applied to areas where human beings are in conflict, particularly in the field of criminal justice. Many academics, members of the legal profession, indigenous peoples, advocates, human rights supporters, prison abolitionists, members of faith communities and others share a vision of justice that possesses the values of honesty, respect, trust, humility, sharing, inclusivity, empathy, courage, forgiveness and love. Frustration with the current system, combined with the tendency to treat youth involved in conflict differently than adults has lead to the development of youth justice programs based on restorative principles in North America, Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe. The infancy of these programs and problems with traditional evaluative measures have resulted in few writings about specific programs and how they work with the contemporary criminal justice system. Abstract courtesy of the Centre for Restorative Justice, Simon Fraser University,
Hansen, Pieter and Smit, Jeanette. An analysis of the legal mandate and role of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the implementation of restorative justice in South Africa
The objective of the paper is to investigate the legal mandate for the South African Police Service in the implementation of restorative justice within South Africa, as the South African Police Service Act does not make provision for the members of the police to become actively involved in restorative justice. The study has three aims: evaluating the legal mandate of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to implement restorative justice; determining the training, if any, that members of the SAPS receive in terms of restorative justice; evaluating the joint efforts of non-governmental organizations (NGO's) and the SAPS in implementing restorative justice. The study will conclude with possible recommendations on legislative interventions and recommendations to improve police training in implementing restorative justice in South Africa. Abstract courtesy of the Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University,
Wood, Jennifer. Reinventing Governance: A Study of Transformations in the Ontario Provincial Police
It is now widely accepted across academic and public policy circles that governance has been transformed in a variety of ways, and this is nowhere more apparent than in the area of security. A central component of this transformation process has been a profound re-thinking of the nature, roles and functions of the state. At the same time, non-state and/or quasi-state institutions and auspices have emerged as new governmental authorities, leading to an extensive pluralization of the governance of security in this province, this country and in other parts of the world. This study examines the ways in which the state governance of security has been reinvented. It takes as its institutional site the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and more broadly, the Ontario Government. It examines particular strategic, institutional and managerial shifts in the OPP over the course of the last decade, and locates these shifts within a broader political and economic environment characterized by new governmental problems and imperatives. Of particular interest is the nature of the "new right" political agenda in this province and its effects on the organization of governance. In contrast to traditional sociological accounts of public policing, this study is concerned with shifts in manageria1 discourse, and the ways in which managers have responded to a range of broad economic and political imperatives through various forms of organizational change. Methodologically, it draws from studies in "governmentality", which have focused on shifts in "mentalities" of state governance, and the ways in which these mentalities have colonized and transformed particular governmental programs and practices. In particular, such studies have concluded that state governance has been transformed according to a new "neo-liberal" mentality. Author's abstract.
Deukmedjian, John Edward. Rise and Fall of RCMP Community Justice Forums: Restorative Justice and Public Safety Interoperability in Canada.
This paper argues that the rise and subsequent decline of restorative justice programs is a function of the program's theoretical and procedural alignment with shifting strategies of national governance. It is noted that this raises a question about the role of restorative forums in Canadian governance. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) executives and the Canadian government promoted community justice forums (CJFs) in the form of family group conferences in the late 1990s, and did so because CJFs offered a process consistent with the national community-policing strategy. Additionally, when this strategy changed to intelligence-led policing and public safety interoperability, executives cut their support for the program. The article opines that if such programs are to remain desirable, multiagency forums (police, public schools, child welfare, and immigration) may well align with the nascent governmental framework of public safety interoperability. The paper also considers another possibility and discusses non-state local peacemaking forums. The conclusion of the work discusses potential benefits and limits of these possibilities and also offers general theoretical observations on the role of alignment in governmental programming. (Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,
Carroll, M. Implementation Issues: Considering the Conferencing Options for Victoria
The potential advantages and dangers of family group conferences are discussed in the context of the existing juvenile justice system in Victoria under the Children and Young Persons Act 1989. These approaches have led to fewer young people admitted by courts to supervised programs making the need for more diversion approaches questionable. Concerns about police-based family group conferences include police neutrality, police role as prosecutor and judge, and program costs. Concerns about the New Zealand model include professional involvement in decision making, low victim satisfaction, net-widening, and costs of program implementation.

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