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Community based interventions have played an important role in the development of restorative justice practice in this region.

"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.”
2nd Chance Staffing
from the organization's website: To ex-offenders: We employ motivated men and women that have made concrete changes in their lives. A change to us means having become a law-abiding member of the community who understands there is no replacement for hard work and dedication. If you fit this bill, we are looking for you. We care about your skills, your mindset, and your future -- not your past. To businesses: At 2nd Chance, we provide top-quality employees for companies of all sizes. Because we have consistently provided loyal, hardworking employees for Fortune 500 companies across the country, we have seen first-hand how well our business model works. Whether you are searching for long-term employees or temp-to-hire positions, 2nd Chance can help!
A second chance at Curt's Cafe
from the article by Susan Du in The Daily Northwestern: Curt’s Cafe, 2922 Central St., is an unlikely crossroads for the two: Trieschmann hires at-risk young adults, particularly those with criminal records, providing them with hard-to-find job training and work experience. The non-profit restaurant is one of the only adult ex-offender re-entry programs in a city that focuses most of its re-entry resources on at-risk youths. Trieschmann said the road to opening the experimental business was far from smooth, with some neighbors concerned about the business drawing former criminals to Central Street. Still, it’s an experiment that restorative justice advocates and even Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said is worth a shot.
A visionary judge makes restorative justice come alive in Alabama
from Ken Kimsey's entry on Fairness Works: In a six-part video series, Judge McCooey talks passionately about her believe that justice requires much more than the court system provides, especially in the area of giving crime victims the opportunity to meet the offenders, face-to-face, in a safe place, and to do so on a voluntary basis. (If you walk out of here and find someone has stolen your car radio, chances are you don’t have much interest in meeting the thief, she says in one segment. But the more deeply you have been hurt, the more likely you want to meet the offender and ask questions like “why?”.) As appealing as her speaking style and warmth is her story about the unorthodox path that led her to the bench. Serving as a judge was never in her long-range plans, but when she won her first election against a well-established Montgomery lawyer, surprising herself in the process, she knew there were some new thing she wanted to try. Finding ways of implementing a restorative justice program was among them, and she set about methodically but quietly to make this happen.
Aharan, Peter and Lewis, Alice. Community Justice Circles and Community Development
The Saint Leonard’s Society of London began an Alternative Measures Program in 1988 in London, Ontario, Canada. This program gives young offenders charged with minor offenses the opportunity to make amends for their behavior outside of the formal court process. Building on the success of this program, in 1995 Saint Leonard’s began to develop the concept of community justice circles. Saint Leonard’s adapted these circles from aboriginal practices to include the participation of members from the young person’s own community and the victim in all aspects of the Alternative Measures Program. With this in mind, Arahan and Lewis describe the principles and operation of community justice circles in relation to community development in London, Ontario.
An Outcome Evaluation of Minnesota Circles of Support and Accountability (MnCoSA)
from the study by the Minnesota Department of Corrections: ....The use of the COSA model with high-risk sex offenders began in a small Mennonite community in Canada in the early 1990s. Grounded in the tenets of the restorative justice philosophy, the COSA model attempts to help sex offenders successfully reenter the community and, thus, increase public safety, by providing them with social support as they try to meet their employment, housing, treatment, and other social needs. Each COSA consists of anywhere between four and six community volunteers, one of whom is a primary volunteer, who meet with the offender on a regular basis. The results from several evaluations of the Canadian COSA model suggest it significantly reduces sex offender recidivism....
Baker, Tamela. The way of the just
In this article, Tamela Baker profiles Genesee Justice – a restorative justice initiative in Genesee County, New York. The effort began in the early 1980s when the Genesee County sheriff campaigned against building a new prison to seek instead a new approach to dealing with crime. This led to the development of Genesee Justice, a program for sentencing offenders to community service and at the same time including victims in the criminal justice system. Baker highlights the history of the program, types and stories of cases dealt with in the program, its faith-based elements, and challenges and successes in the program.
Baron, Linda. Fourteen Months in a FEMA Field Office: A Special Kind of Community Mediation.
Mediating in FEMA was nothing like the court, community, and agency-based programs that I was familiar with. There were no intake forms, no dedicated mediation rooms, no established protocols or procedures, and no one knew much about mediation and conflict resolution. In most mediation programs, mediation is an alternative to something – an alternative to litigation, prosecution, investigation, or some other kind of more formal process. In FEMA, when workplace disputes become intolerable, someone is usually “released” (i.e., sent home). That person may eventually be deployed to another disaster, and might even find himself working next to the same person he had a conflict with in the last disaster. One of our tasks, as in any workplace mediation program, was to facilitate more satisfactory resolution of conflicts both for the present situation, and for t he future. (excerpt)
Basler, Stan L.. A Prosocial Process
The article posits that the American culture values vindictiveness and anger more than repentance and forgiveness and that a tangible result of such a value system is an increase in the crime rate.
Berman, Paul Schiff. An Observation and a Strange but True "Tale": What Might the Historical Trials of Animals Tell Us About the Transformative Potential of Law in American Culture?
As Paul Berman notes, and many before him have observed, law and legal procedure are woven deeply into American self-identity and culture. Recently, some commentators have criticized what might be called America’s abiding legal faith. In this view, the regular resort to law degrades community, consensus, and problem-solving. Berman in this paper addresses concerns about the legalistic nature of American culture. He considers the possibility that law, instead of being a necessary evil, can actually help to heal rifts in the social fabric by creating a forum for useful discussion and debate. Moreover, he suggests that this can be done without simply imposing a hierarchical social order. In other words, Berman holds up a vision for the transformative potential of law. To explore all of this, he recounts a true story from France in 1522 when villagers sought to try rats in legal proceedings for allegedly eating the villagers’ barley crops. He uses this and other similar trials to reflect upon the possible social functions that trials and legal discourse may fulfill for a community.
Berzins, Lorraine. 'Christian Social Witness in Criminal Justice': Be prepared to see the world turned upside down
Pat Love invited me to speak with you tonight because you are a group of people from several Ottawa churches particularly committed to social justice; and I understand you have been meeting together for some time to explore some of the deeper questions of faith that challenge our notions of social justice, and also, I would imagine, some probing questions of social justice that from time to time begin to challenge, for some of us, how we view and live our faith. My work and life for the past 33 years has had me immersed in what is called ‘criminal justice’ – prisoners, crime and victims of crime; the families and communities of both; the workings of the courts and the police; people seeking justice and safety, healing from harm and fear, and crime prevention. Pat said she was particularly interested in hearing about how faith values impact on daily decisions in this line of work. (excerpt)
Blevins, Michael F.. Restorative Justice, Slavery, and the American Soul, A Policy-Oriented Intercultural Human Rights Approach to the Question of Reparations.
Blevins provides an overview of how past slavery has an effect on present society; reparations have not been paid to the African American community and injustice remains. Reparations, Blevins states, should come in the form of aid, not charity, and that the United States owes reparations to both Africa and African-Americans. The current theories and laws addressing slavery reparations are centered on a litigation approach. This approach is ineffective and inhibits justice from being served. Blevins then discusses the Restorative Justice approach, briefly mentioning the Truth and Reconciliation processes in Africa, the Truth Commission established in Peru, and other Restorative Justice initiatives around the world. The article states that if nothing is done in the United States to address the past and present problems with slavery and racism, these problems will continue. To be successful, the reparations movement must occur within the academic, professional, civic, and religious sectors. Blevins suggests that an African American Redress Commission should be established by the House and Senate. Additionally, a commission would then be established in each district, with the purpose of conducting investigations and research, holding hearings, and holding community forums. The most important aspect of these commissions being the forums because the community would have a chance to be heard and to come up with solutions for the present problem. Each district would then submit a plan to the executive Commission, complete with legislative recommendations, entitled “America’s 21st Century Contract with African Americans.” Blevins ties this whole process to the commencement of slavery in Jamestown Virginia, comes up with an outline of a possible payment plan from the United States government to both African Americans and Africans, and challenges individual States to take action.
Buller, Ed. Aboriginal Community Healing Processes In Canada.
Issues of abuse within families and particularly Aboriginal families have been brought to the surface in Canada over the last decade. In response, a growing number of Aboriginal communities are developing holistic models of treatment for Aboriginal victims, offenders, families and the community as a whole. The approach taken is one that addresses the root causes of criminal activity and proactively engages offenders, victims and families to break the cycle of abuse. These initiatives work within the current criminal justice system while bringing a unique alternative to imprisonment that can lead to stronger and safer communities. Communities engaged in these healing approaches have seen benefits in terms of significantly reduced criminal activity and several other social benefits. There is not one universally recognized definition of community healing. Some have described healing as being “about collective approaches to change that enhance Aboriginal cultural identity. It is about family and community crisis intervention, integrated human services, political cooperation and public participation in processes of planned change and institution building.”i The Four Worlds Centre for Development Education concludes that healing “ may therefore be strategically described as a process of removing barriers and building the capacity of people and communities to address the determinants of health.(excerpt)
Church Council on Justice and Corrections. Church Council News: Connecting the Dots
The Church Council on Justice and Corrections (CCJC) is a Canadian coalition of faith-based individuals and churches advocating for a more humane way to practice criminal justice. In collaboration with the Correctional Service of Canada, the CCJC conducted three “Connecting the Dots‿ forums in the following locations: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario; Lethbridge, Alberta; and Prince George, British Columbia. Each meeting consisted of a two-day, community-based Healing Justice Education Forum. By bringing together faith and community representatives, including criminal justice professionals, the forums sought to educate and engage participants in terms of the relevance and application of restorative and community-strengthening tools towards healthier and safer places to live. This document presents a final report on the forums. Among other contents, it contains testimonials from participants; the origin, purpose, and structure of the forums; local partners and attendees; evaluation of the goals of the project; and networking and new initiative results of the forums.
Church Council on Justice and Corrections. Church Council News: Taking Responsibility - Restorative Justice and Corrections in the Community/ Healing Justice in the Faith Community. Index, and Section One: Introduction - Project Summary
The Church Council on Justice and Corrections (CCJC) is a Canadian coalition of faith-based individuals and churches advocating for a more humane way to practice criminal justice. In collaboration with the Correctional Service of Canada, the CCJC conducted workshops in four Northern Ontario communities as part of a “Taking Responsibilityâ€? project. In each community, the workshop consisted of afternoon and evening sessions. The afternoon session, entitled “Taking Responsibility – Restorative Justice and Corrections in the Community,â€? focused on the general public and those working in criminal justice. The evening session, entitled “Taking Responsibility for Healing Justice – Restorative Justice in the Faith Community,â€? aimed at church congregations. This summary report on the workshop project covers the following: the project itself; community profiles; and key things learned from the project.
Church Council on Justice and Corrections. Interim Report: Toward an Integrated Model of Justice
The Church Council on Justice and Corrections (CCJC) is a Canadian coalition of faith-based individuals and churches advocating for a more humane way to practice criminal justice. The CCJC received project funding for an initiative, “Toward and Integrated Model of Justice.‿ The aim of the initiative is to build on the experience and success of the Collaborative Justice Project. The Collaborative Justice Project, operating out of the court house in Ottawa, applies restorative justice principles and processes in bringing together offenders, victims, families, and support people between an admission of guilt and prior to sentencing. This initiative, as explained in the interim report on progress, is intended to enhance and integrate this restorative justice model by extending it to new uses in the Canadian criminal justice system.
sex offenders and church
I myself, am a convicted offender (1990), who has experienced first hand, whether or not I can attend church, and if so, where, and under [...]
Churches grapple with whether to welcome convicted sex offenders
from the article by Adelle M. Banks in the Washington Post: "All are welcome" is a common phrase on many a church sign and Web site. But what happens when a convicted sex offender is at the door? Church officials and legal advocates are grappling with how -- and whether -- people who have been convicted of sex crimes should be included in U.S. congregations, especially when children are present:
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.
Collaborative Justice Project. Collaborative Justice Report: Year End Report on the Collaborative Justice Project
The Collaborative Justice Project (CJP) is a demonstration project in the Judicial District of Ottawa-Carleton that began in September 1998. The aim of the project is to show how a restorative approach in cases of serious crime can deliver more satisfying justice to victims, offenders, and communities. It is an initiative of the Church Council on Justice and Corrections (CCJC), a Canadian coalition of faith-based individuals and churches advocating for a more humane way to practice criminal justice. Published on March 31, 2002, this is the year end report on the project. It describes what the project is not, cases handled by the project, the process for dealing with a case, case statistics, volunteers, public education, evaluation, and project staff.

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