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The Potential of Restorative Justice

What kind of role might restorative justice play in the future?

Becoming someone
by Lynette Parker Many times when I talk to people about crime and justice, the discussion centres on “those offenders” needing to be punished because of what they have done. Even victims are “others” as some want to “protect” them, others want to blame them for what happened and yet other expect them to forgive and get over it. Very rarely do we talk about human beings who have been harmed by crime or who have committed crimes.
Bouman, Martine and van Hoek, Anneke. Communication for social change: the education-entertainment strategy in theory and practice
Worldwide a number of groups have sought ways to incorporate social change messages into radio and television entertainment like popular drama- and soap serials. This so-called entertainment-education (EE) strategy is defined as "... the process of purposively designing and implementing a mediating communication form with the potential of entertaining and educating people, in order to enhance and facilitate different stages of pro-social (behaviour) change." An essential element in this definition is constituted by the words “purposively designing and implementing”. There is a need to develop a wider variety of effective and efficient strategies to bridge the gap between cognitive and affective approaches in communication for social change. More affective and heuristic principles appealing to emotions and human interest need to be integrated in this communication strategy. E-E is a field of scholarly analysis, but its professional practice is strongly linked to the entertainment industry. This ‘marriage’ between communication scholars and television professionals offers a challenge: How can both collaborate in entertainment projects without short-changing the other party? In this workshop, the principal theoretical notions of the EE strategy will be discussed and given a practical perspective through the presentation of an EE-radio-project in Rwanda aimed at the prevention of ethnocentric violence, reconciliation and trauma healing. The workshop will close with a discussion about the question whether the EE-strategy can also be of help in informing the public about restorative justice. (excerpt)
Stempel, Jeffrey. Paradox lost: The potential of restorative attorney discipline -- with a cautionary call for making distinctions.
Seen through my cynic’s lens, the restorative attorney discipline advocated by Brown and Wolf11 more than meets the standard for likely effectiveness— provided that those presiding over it are prepared to make distinctions between those attorneys who are in trouble in spite of their good faith or merely because of an episode of weakness and those who really should be culled from the profession. Because of particular characteristics of the legal profession and attorney disciplinary matters, it is more susceptible to ADR initiatives such as restorative discipline. Several aspects of the practice of law account for this.
Justice as restoration of trust
from Howard Zehr's blog entry: ....What restorative justice offers, he says, is not so much new justice practices but a different view of crime and a new goal for justice: crime is seen as a source of harm that must be repaired. Moreover, the essential harm of crime is the loss of trust, on both interpersonal and social levels. What victims and communities need is to have their trust restored. The essential obligation of offenders is to show that they are trustworthy. The purpose of justice should be to encourage this process. The overriding goal of justice, then, ought to be the restoration of trust. The attempt to achieve this on both personal and social levels, he argues, can provide a unifying umbrella for our response to crime. Rather than replacing other, more traditional goals, it would become the overriding consideration in sentencing, providing rationales for and limits to the application of goals such as incapacitation and punishment.
Scuro Neto, Pedro. The Restorative Paradigm: Just Middle-Range Justice
Restorative justice is a middle-range paradigm, a promise of future systemic change, implemented on a lower level of abstraction with operational notions defined for restricted orders of conflict, in specific, localized conditions.
Van Ness, Daniel. Creating Restorative Systems
In order to increase the influence of the restorative justice movement for the future, Van Ness proposes models for measurement and conceptual understanding.
Van Ness, Daniel. The Shape of Things to Come: A Framework for Thinking about A Restorative Justice System
Daniel Van Ness begins this paper with a sketch of recent initiatives that signal a worldwide interest in restorative justice among national governments and the United Nations.
Wright, Martin. 2006. Restorative Justice in Europe and Beyond. ‘Co-operation of Eastern and Central European countries for the development of restorative justice and mediation’, Warsaw, 21-22 January 2006‘.
I should like to say something about the European Forum for Restorative Justice; then I will suggest ways in which in which restorative justice could develop in Europe, especially the extension of restorative approaches in schools. Then I will look at three particular ways in which restorative justice can be put into practice. One is through community involvement, including the work of non-governmental organizations, the use of trained volunteers from the community, and the participation of those affected, who are of course also members of the community. Secondly, we have to consider the position of restorative justice in relation to the criminal justice system. Thirdly, how can restorative justice could be linked to crime reduction and social reform? Finally, I should like to look at examples of these restorative approaches in three other parts of the world. (excerpt)
Wright, Martin. 2000. Restorative justice for juveniles … and adults. Paper for Conference on ‘Human rights and education: global and regional problems and perspectives’, Khanti-Mansiysk, Russia, , 21-24 August 2000.
If we were able to take a new sheet of paper and design a new system for dealing with crime, knowing what we do now, what would it look like? We might well start by recognizing the needs of victims. We (that is, the rest of the community), would want to support them, restore them emotionally and materially as far as possible. This would apply to all victims if they needed it – and we have to remember that the harm suffered by victims varies greatly from very slight to devastating. (excerpt)
Six boys, one cop, and the road to restorative justice
from the article by Molly Rowan Leach: It’s a warm summer night in Longmont, Colorado, a vibrant midsized city in the Rocky Mountains. On a dare, six young men aged between ten and thirteen years plan to break into a giant chemical processing plant. High levels of alcohol and testosterone, peer pressure and a moonless night propel the group towards the locked gates of the factory, and they break in. Across town at the Police Department, Officer Greg Ruprecht is about to embark on night patrol. A former Army Captain and top of his class at the Police Academy, Ruprecht believes his job is to arrest everyone who commits a crime and throw away the key. Justice means punishment: an eye for an eye, no questions asked. You do something bad and you get what you deserve. There’s a clear line to walk. But what occurred at the chemical plant that night changed him forever by awakening a very different sensibility: instead of an instrument of vengeance, justice requires that we work to restore all those who have been injured by a crime.
Legislature approves restorative justice for juvenile offenders
from the release from the House Democratic Caucus: The state Senate voted 48-0 today to authorize a new evidence-based judicial option that encourages juvenile offenders to take responsibility for their actions and promotes a better understanding of how crimes impact victims.
Editorial: The best arena for victim redress?
from the article in the Sage e-bulletin from the Church Council on Justice and Corrections: Can the justice system ever be the arena for victims’ redress if redress means true healing and moving on from trauma and its effects? A criminal justice system built on punitive measures and adversarial posturing exacerbates the victim wound and creates even more layers of self protection against active resolution of one’s own wounding and the wounding one does to another. Further the judicial system is the state’s arena, not the victim’s, for redress against crimes committed and therefore its capacity to adequately redress victims’ needs where those needs are most required is difficult at best. Victims are left with insufficient avenues to get to the root of needed healing. And incarceration that does not consistently include those rehabilitation options that contribute to victim redress, does not hold real solutions to changing behaviour or creating public and victim safety in the long term.
Green, Simon and Lambert, Craig and Johnstone, Gerry. What harm, whose justice?: excavating the restorative movement
The city of Hull in the northeast of England gave itself the ambitious task of becoming the world’s first restorative city. The aim of this strategy was to create a more socially and emotionally confident youth population which in turn would encourage a more entrepreneurial and aspirational outlook across the City. Based on a two-year National Lottery-funded project exploring peoples’ experiences of restorative approaches and a Knowledge Transfer Project to help develop restorative skills, the development of restorative justice is analysed. How does a restorative classroom, workplace, or family really behave? Is there a common objective within, and across, all restorative initiatives and if so, what is it? The answer to these questions is that communication breakdown can be understood as the common harm within, and across the restorative movement. This raises some interesting questions and challenges for zemiology where both restorative justice and social harm perspectives contain quite different notions of harm suggesting that neither has yet developed a clear or solid foundation upon which to build an alternative focus to criminal harms. (author's abstract)
The danger of compromise
from the article by Elaine Shpungin on OpEd News.com: Picture a stand-off between multiple parties. Perhaps it is between representatives of two nations sitting across a long polished table as they butt heads over a piece of land, or perhaps it is between red-faced members of an organization fighting over a budget item, voices raised, or maybe its kids on a grassy field arguing about which game to play. In our case, this morning, it was between our 9 yr old son (on sofa, arms crossed, body tight, face scowling) and his dad (on living room rug, visibly slowing down his breathing to be "patient," feet planted firmly).
First restorative justice Human Rights Board of Inquiry
from the press release by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission will be holding its first restorative board of inquiry Monday, Sept. 17. The commission has significantly restructured its investigation and adjudicative processes over the past year. This includes approaching the resolution of human rights disputes from a restorative justice perspective.
Dhami, Mandeep K. and Fox, Darrell and Mantle, Greg. Restorative justice in prisons
Restorative Justice (RJ) has found significant utility outside the prison setting. For many reasons, it has not received the same level of consideration inside the institution...Although RJ has the potential to have a positive impact on the work of prisons and the experience of imprisonment, it has not found wide acceptance and is currently limited to a relatively small number of prisons and then often only delivered in partial platforms. We believe that RJ has a realistic future in prison settings and that the contradictions that may be identified are not debilitating. (Excerpt)
John Braithwaite video introduction to restorative justice
John Braithwaite is a leader in restorative justice (and in many other fields). He teaches at Australian National University which has now posted an 18 minute video in which he explains the basic theories and applications of restorative justice. It is well done, and is presented in segments, which means it can be used in whole or in part.
Five act lesson cycle: Humor in the classroom
from the article by R. Casey Davis on the Ecology of Education blog: The Bard’s plays usually end in one of two ways depending upon their particular genre of theater. In essence, disharmony is created in the audience through the characters and their actions. Through the course of the dramatic arc, resolution is achieved by the fifth and final act. Shakespeare’s two forms of resolution are based upon whether the nature of the play is tragic or comedic. For tragic works, the resolution is retributive justice. Wrongs have been avenged. Conversely, for comedic works, the resolution is restorative justice. The imbalance in the plot is corrected and the situation is set aright.
D.C. sniper speaks 10 years after violence: Can restorative justice apply here?
from the article by Lisa Rea on Restorative Justice International: It’s been 10 years since the D.C. sniper took 10 lives and wounded three. The following are two stories (including one audio tape) from Josh White of the Washington Post (September 29, 2012) interviewing Lee Boyd Malvo, the young killer who voluntarily did the bidding of John Allen Muhammad. Malvo and Muhammad went on a killing spree that lasted 23 days in October 2002 terrorizing the victims and their families and all who lived in the D.C. region. As we provide a link to these stories we think of the victims and the victims’ families. We also consider the words of Lee Boyd Malvo who tells his victims “to forget him.” Can restorative justice be applied here? Could the victims or their families choose restorative justice now in this case?
McKee, Ian and Strelan, Peter and Feather, N. T. . Retributive and Inclusive Justice Goals and Forgiveness: The Influence of Motivational Values.
Who is more likely to forgive, given that justice is important and motivating for people? In this article, we argue that the relation between justice and forgiveness depends on the type of justice involved; specifically, the goals of justice, i.e. retributive versus inclusive. We also explored the influence of motivational values on justice goals and forgiveness. Using data from 178 undergraduate psychology students who responded to measures of retributive and inclusive justice attitudes, forgiveness attitudes and dispositions, and values, we found support for our hypotheses that retributive justice goals are negatively related to forgiving attitudes and dispositions; inclusive justice goals are positively related to forgiveness; and benevolence and power values play the dominant role in predicting forgiveness. The results have implications for how the relation between justice and forgiveness is conceptualised and applied. (Excerpt).

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