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Hate Crime

Hate crimes are directed at victims because of their affiliation with a group against which the offenders have chosen to take action. Not only do victims suffer from direct injuries, they must also come to terms with the deep malice and bias that motivated the crime. These articles address restorative responses.

Why I don't support hate crime legislation
Jos, writing at feministing.com: 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]
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.
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 [...]
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....
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)
Gavrielides, Theo. Contextualizing restorative justice for hate crimes.
The application of restorative justice (RJ) with hate crime remains an underdeveloped field of research, policy, and practice. This article aims to advance the understanding of these two areas of inquiry: RJ and hate crime. It is known that while most hate incidents involve minor, punishable offenses, their impact can be long lasting and detrimental to victims and affected communities. The article investigates how RJ is conceptualized within the hate crime context. The findings are based on a 3-year research program, which combined theoretical analysis, literature review, and U.K.-focused field research that was carried out through a combination of qualitative methods. These included semistructured interviews with an expert sample of practitioners and policy makers as well as focus groups with young victims and offenders of hate incidents. Direct observation was also carried out with two RJ practices.
Judicial system fails in hate crime
from the article by Ian Gillespie in the London Free Press: ....How do you respond when you're targeted simply because you're you? That's a hate crime -- when someone is victimized because of their race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or physical and mental abilities. And while any crime is awful and traumatic for its victims, hate crimes are particularly repugnant because they're attacks against the essence of a person. That's why last week's court decision involving an attack upon a gay man is so lamentable.
Detroit Tigers' Delmon Young pleads guilty To Midtown aggravated harassment
by Jen Chung in Gothamist: Back in April, Detroit Tigers outfielder Delmon Young was arrested for allegedly striking a man outside a Midtown hotel—and he also allegedly uttered anti-Semitic remarks, prompting him to be charged with a hate crime. Today, Young has pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment in the second degree and will have to "complete 10 days of community service and participate in a mandatory restorative justice program at the Museum of Tolerance New York," according to the Manhattan DA's office.
Bishop, Bill. 'Restorative justice' tests commitment
After the September 11 attacks, Tammam Adi was afraid of becoming a target because he was a Muslim. So when Paul Younce threatened him on the phone, he promptly filed charges. The two ended up going to mediation and after a shaky beginning, managed to resolve the situation in such a way that both sides felt satisfied.
Celebrity chef backs new Scottish Police hate crime scheme
from the news release by Lothian and Borders Police: Celebrity chef Tony Singh is backing Lothian and Borders Police pioneering new scheme for tackling Juvenile Hate Crime. The Edinburgh based TV regular launched the scheme with Deputy Chief Constable Steve Allen, and LGBT Youth Scotland’s Schools Development Manager, Cara Spence, at LGBT Youth Scotland, Leith, on Monday 12th December.
Racist attack on bus: Offender's Youth Justice Conference
from the article by Lisa Robinson in The Sydney Morning Herald: A teenager involved in an anti-Semitic attack on a bus full of young Jewish students will visit the Sydney Jewish Museum as part of an agreed settlement with NSW police and the Jewish community. The teenager attended a youth justice conference on Waverley Council Library on Tuesday, where he faced one of his victims and her family. As well as touring the Sydney Jewish Museum, the youth will also enrol in a school harmony project run by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.
Vos, Betty and Umbreit, Mark S and Coates, Robert B. Community Peacemaking Project: Responding to Hate Crimes, Hate Incidents, Intolerance, and Violence Through Restorative justice Dialogue.
In this report, the authors describe the first year of a two year project by the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking on the use of community restorative dialogue as a response to hate. The purpose of the project is to promote community reconciliation through the identification of new responses – particularly the use of dialogue consistent with restorative justice principles – to hate crimes, hate incidents, intolerance, and violence. The initial task in the first year of the project was to identify and document community cases in which restorative dialogue formed part of a community’s response to hate incidents. Research into particular cases involved in-depth interviews with facilitators and mediators and analysis of newspaper articles and web sites. The report itself consists of the following: case study descriptions; case analysis and implications for restorative dialogue in response to hate crimes; responding to hate through restorative dialogue; and projections about the next phase of the project.

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