Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice
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Mediation urged in bitter row between cinema owners | Irish Examiner

Mediation urged in bitter row between cinema owners | Irish Examiner | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
A High Court judge has urged mediation of an extraordinarily bitter dispute affecting the Dublin Cinema Group, operator of the Savoy and Screen cinemas in the capital.
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Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice
Expanding the critical perspective of justice to suggest restorative processes and ADR as tools for reparation.
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Wal-Mart takes its own approach to shoplifting

Wal-Mart takes its own approach to shoplifting | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
People who have a clean record but who are caught shoplifting are being offered a choice by Wal-Mart’s security staff: They can admit guilt and pay $400 to take an online “restorative education” course; or the police will be called.

Offenders unable to pay the money up front have the option of paying $500 for the course in installments. 

If the offender fails to pay the fee or finish the online class, Wal-Mart forwards its record of the crime to the police, who have agreed to press charges based on that information.

Dubbed the “Restorative Justice Program,” the new plan replaces a program designed by the Joplin Police Department to reduce officer visits to big box stores. A spokesman for Wal-Mart said that “Restorative Justice” would also serve to reduce police calls. 

The high volume of shoplifting-related calls from large retailers poses a challenge to the department’s mission of patrolling the entire city, not just a few parking lots. 
Rob Duke's insight:
What do you think?  Is this really RJ?
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How One Woman Was Able to Forgive the Man Who Shot Her

How One Woman Was Able to Forgive the Man Who Shot Her | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
It has been almost 25 years, but Misty Wallace still tears up when she talks about the day in mid-October 1992 that she thought she would die. Now, Wallace is a soft-spoken but determined mother and wife who wears her blond, wavy hair in a no-nonsense ponytail that highlights her patient face. Back then, she was only 18 and a high school senior looking forward to attending college on a softball scholarship to study nursing, hoping to just “enjoy life and live life.”

“It was my year, my time,” she said.

Wallace recalls fighting with her boyfriend earlier that night, dropping him off, and thinking, “I wish I was dead.” The memory stuck with her because of what happened later.

She stopped to call her parents from a pay phone in an Indianapolis Burger King parking lot on her way home from visiting haunted houses with friends when a man approached her and asked if she was done with the phone. She told him that she was and hung up the phone, and the man shot her in the side of her face and jumped into her car. She says she will never forget the “calm look on his face, like he really wanted to use the pay phone.”

“Please help me,” Wallace called out. But her assailant left her on the ground, bleeding and in pain, her ears ringing from the shot, her face burned from the gunpowder.

Lying beneath the front wheel of her blue Mustang, by the phone booth, Wallace prayed that the car wouldn’t start. It didn’t. The assailant fled, and a stranger on his way home from work stopped to help Wallace, saving her life.

After multiple surgeries, Wallace remembers being in a hospital room, surrounded by her family members, who were in tears. “The hardest part,” she said, “was that I knew something was really wrong. I didn’t know what…. I said good-bye. I grabbed their hands so they knew I cared.” Wallace was still unable to speak. “That’s when I realized I could die at any point,” she said, wiping her eyes at the memory.

Her assailant was Keith Blackburn, who was also 18 and, as he puts it now, in trouble with gangs and drugs, quickly sliding downhill with no end in sight. He had once tried to shoot himself in the head and was saved only because his nine-year-old nephew leaped toward him and pushed him so that the gun shot a glass sliding door. That night, he had been on a robbery spree with his friends and needed a getaway car. So he decided to shoot Wallace and take her Mustang. The crime was wholly impersonal, just a means to an end.

RELATED: When a Policy Alone Is Not Enough

“For a long time, I denied what I had done,” he told me. He felt about the shooting as he would about a dream, even though he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempted murder. When asked what motivated him to change, he said that after he realized he didn’t want to spend his life behind bars, a fellow inmate told him to “change his nouns—the people, places, and things.” After that, Blackburn was transferred from his solitary cell to a group dorm, where he met a man who discussed passages from the Bible with him and made him rethink his relationship to himself and the world. He began to take responsibility for his crime and realized what he had done and how many people he had hurt.
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Rodney Ebersole's comment, September 25, 3:45 PM
What an encouraging story of how restorative justice worked and changed the lives of these two individuals. Honestly, it seems like the criminal learning to take responsibility for their actions is key to any real change being made with restorative justice. If the criminal isn’t finally willing to admit what they did is wrong, then this process likely isn’t going to work well. I am encouraged that criminals can find a place where they are willing to admit their wrong but I wonder if this will work for the numerous criminals who never feel they did something wrong or whom have mental issues that keep them from having a conscience. Whatever the success rate is, this is one more step in the right direction as this process works for some. If it lowers recidivism rates than it is a program that should be used for those who can make it work for them. I find it interesting that these kinds of programs are linked to Christian theology as well just like Alcohol Anonymous is and how they have shown good success rates. Obviously learning about forgiveness and accountability based in Biblical teachings is working for many even if society pushes to keep Christian thinking out of the government.
Kristine Schwankl's comment, September 25, 10:59 PM
This is not your typical outcome to an offense such as this. However, it is a story where both the victim and offender were able to repair the harm and move through the situation. The victim's needs were met and the offender took responsibility for his actions.
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“I will forever be sorry”: Driver who caused A46 horror crash inspired by victim’s forgiveness

“I will forever be sorry”: Driver who caused A46 horror crash inspired by victim’s forgiveness | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
She made the brave decision to meet with Adam while he was in prison, facilitated by a restorative justice service, and forgave him for his part in the crash.

Adam Hill, who lives in Lincoln, said: “As soon as I was convicted I requested that I speak to the girls to apologise to them.

“It was only really after the first police interview that I realised I was culpable for it. I had no recollection of the actual crash.
Rob Duke's insight:
This kind of victim is particularly well-suited for RJ....but that may be because of his previous social standing and a profound desire to be reintegrated.  Those who were already ostracized may still be good candidates--even if they don't at first agree.
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Rodney Ebersole's comment, September 25, 4:02 PM
I’m glad to see another article on the impact restorative justice had on these two people’s lives and how this is bringing media attention to how RJ is able to heal. This particular case seems to be very well suited for RJ as it wasn’t really done in malice by the criminal and both parties want to move on with their lives and help others. RJ seems to really fit best in non violent crimes as I think the people involved are often good people who make mistakes and want forgiveness. I think RJ gets more complicated in violent crimes as too often people who victimize in horrific ways may not be able to ever really be cured enough to see their victims with the right attitude and I think victims of major crimes may not be able to see their assailants without causing more pain. It is possible in some cases but I think the percentage would be much less than non violent crimes.
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Restorative Approaches in Schools: The State of the Art - Restorative Forum

Restorative Approaches in Schools: The State of the Art - Restorative Forum | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
You are warmly invited to attend and participate in an innovative conference at the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge on Wednesday 28th
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Fellowship of St Ethelburga - Restorative Justice | St Ethelburga's Centre

Fellowship of St Ethelburga - Restorative Justice | St Ethelburga's Centre | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
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Restore voting rights for low-level felons in California

Restore voting rights for low-level felons in California | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
13% of all black men are denied the right to vote because they have been convicted of a felony.

Felon disfranchisement, as this phenomenon is called, is a stain on our democracy left by laws intended at their inception to prevent newly freed slaves from participating in the political process. Black people, just 12% of the U.S. population, comprise 38% of those denied their voting rights because of a felony conviction.
Rob Duke's insight:
Alaska needs a system to reduce a felony after a suitable amount of time (end of probation/parole, plus a year or two of "clean" living)....judicial review can ensure that these rights are restored to only the deserving....
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The Secret to Negotiating Is Reading People’s Faces

Focus on the face. The next time you ask an important question in a negotiation, focus on your counterpart’s face for at least four seconds, instead of just listening to the words coming out of his or her mouth.
Tell a story. Negotiators have an easier time controlling their expressions when they’re talking. So don’t ask too many open questions. Instead describe what you want or share an anecdote about another negotiating partner who shared concerns similar to theirs and watch how they respond as they listen. Their guard will lower a little and you’ll be able to see their honest reactions to what you’re saying — knowledge to guide the rest of the conversation.
Present multiple options. As you present a list of choices to negotiating partners, their microexpressions will reveal which they like and which they don’t, sometimes even before they’re consciously aware of their preferences. Watch closely to see what their face tells you about each option.
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Meagan Olsen's comment, September 19, 8:22 PM
I thought this article and research provided interesting information about how to read the little tells that people give us through their involuntary microexpressions that happen in times of intense emotion. As said in the article, these expressions only last 1/25 of a second, so in person it is hard to catch them sometimes, especially when the stakes are high. Wezowski says, “Attention to microexpressions allows you to secretly respond to the feedback your negotiating partners don’t even realize they’re giving, ensuring that you stay in control of the dialogue and achieve better outcomes.”
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Many States Allow Involuntary Commitment for Addiction Treatment - Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Many States Allow Involuntary Commitment for Addiction Treatment - Partnership for Drug-Free Kids | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
After receiving a number of calls from parents of young adults who are addicted to drugs, asking whether they can force their child into treatment against their will, the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws found it is possible to do so in 37 states—if strict guidelines are met.
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Anna Gabriel's comment, September 21, 9:18 PM
This is a very interesting article. I understand that someone that is actively high, especially a parent dealing with a minor who is high, can be extremely frightening and that emergency services are needed. This is the purpose of a 48 hour hold, to provide psychiatric services if needed, and to help sober an individual up so that they are able to care for themselves again. However, holding someone who is addicted to substances for 48 hours is not going to prevent them from further use, it will only keep them sober for that short period of time. In order for this to be a better system, there needs to be a streamlined process for ER care to residential substance abuse treatment. Due to the long waitilist in treatment, this is not possible. Forcing facilities to take minors, is not beneficial in my opinion. Although I see the purpose for invovluntary holds when emergency services are needed, forcing someone into substance abuse treatment when they do not wish to be there is not going to help them. People are only willing to stop using or change their behaviors when they have made the decisions to do so. There is also no way for treatment providers to keep someone in their facility, therefore if an individual is admitted into treatment, and wishes to leave, they are able to walk out the door and do so. This seems very contradictory to therapeutic and restorative based services. People are forced to do treatment when they are facing drug felonies, which ultimately perpetuates their use or distribution. If we don't think that it is appropriate to institutionalize the mentally ill, and studies show that serving long jail sentences isn't effective, why do we think forcing juveniles to stay in a similar setting is appropriate?
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Lessons for WI Juvenile Justice from "Making a Murderer" Case?

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. - The Netflix documentary series "Making a Murderer" drew national attention to the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach. Steven Avery was convicted of the murder, and Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey, who was 16 at the time, was tried and convicted in adult court of helping Avery commit the crime.
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Meagan Olsen's comment, September 19, 11:37 PM
This is a tough topic… but I don’t think that it is fair for people to commit heinous crimes and get off easily… if they are evil enough to do something so horrible to another living being, I do think they know the consequences of their actions, they have to realize, at a very early age, that killing someone is not okay!!! I don’t have sympathy for juveniles who have purposefully and knowingly killed another person and get tried as an adult. But that’s just my opinion.
Anna Gabriel's comment, September 21, 9:30 PM
Dealing with Juveniles, especially in heinous crimes is very difficult. A good portion of those who are on felony supervision as an adult, or who are in the adult correctional system, have a juvenile history. This would indicate that the juvenile system is not providing individuals with the appropriate services they need, as the article mentions as the fault for the adult system. I think it is fair to say that both our adult and juvenile justice system have severe flaws, and a good portion of the individuals who end up in the system have a history that would likely indicate why they turned to drugs or a criminal lifestyle. It is fair to say that the juvenile system is much more lenient, due to the fact that they are dealing with minors, and generally because the offenses are more minor in nature. When you have a juvenile who commits a serious felony level offense it is difficult to say what is the appropriate punishment for them. If we use a RJ approach, would a victim or in the case of the two girls stabbing their friend, the victim’s family think that trying these girls as adults is appropriate? I am not sure what the answer is, and it might vary from case to case, but if we are really seeking to repair harm to victims we might see that some wish to have more punitive measures, which would lead to juveniles being tried as an adult for certain offenses.
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Report: AZ Juvenile Judges Can Base Fees on Family Income

Report: AZ Juvenile Judges Can Base Fees on Family Income | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
PHOENIX - Fees and fines within the juvenile-justice system place an unfair burden on low-income families, according to a new report. In some states, the Juvenile Law Center report found, because of failure to pay, young offenders miss out on diversion programs that would allow them to remain at home, and parents can be held in contempt of court or lose their driver's license. Report co-author Jessica Feierman, the center's associate director, said these families often face gut-wrenching decisions.
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Meagan Olsen's comment, September 19, 8:30 PM
I think this article posts important information. I agree that I don’t think people should be punished based on financial situations. I do think that judges should have more leeway on fees, especially if it could help the juvenile in a positive way. However, it should be up to the judge’s discretion with some research done by another party perhaps, because I can see this getting taken advantage of, a parent might just not want to pay because they think their child is an idiot getting into trouble. In those cases, the parents should have to pay if they are able to, only when poverty is really the case should the judge be able to rule that a fee can be waved or changed.
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Conflict resolution center opens in SD

Conflict resolution center opens in SD | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Conflict resolution center opens in City Heights under collaboration with law enforcement, nonprofits and educators.
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Cate Button's comment, September 16, 4:17 PM
It shouldn't have even taken this long for something like this to open up. I remember when I was in 3rd grade being a "conflict resolution manager" until I was in 5th grade. I would be assigned days during recess to walk the playground and help kids who weren't getting along work out their conflict. It was something that was taught to me at a very young age, but probably one of the many reasons why I am in the field that I am today. Conflict resolution is something so beneficial and necessary in our communities and in our society. More often than not we overlook conflicts and it just makes the situation even worse. We need to work on being more cognizant of fixing problems and resolving them rather than just overlooking them and letting them muster up to become even worse. I think that this is brilliant that this center is based upon the foundation principles of Restorative Community Justice practices. It is something that needs to be relayed more and more within the criminal justice field and institutions.
Meagan Olsen's comment, September 19, 11:41 PM
I think the idea of this resolution center is a great idea and a great way to transition kids back into the community to try and further prevent recidivism rates. However, towards the end of the article it talks about letting to kids go back to school, continue to play sports and keep scholarship…I’m not sure if that is the right message either. I get that they want to keep them out of trouble and I am a huge supporter of sports keeping kids on the right path, but this just reminds me of the Stanford Case going on right now and how just because he is an athlete, he is getting off easy for a serious rape case.
Rob Duke's comment, September 20, 12:36 PM
That's a Re-integrative Shaming component....punishment, but allowing the person a path back. It's also influenced by Travis Hirschi's work that showed it was important to keep kids busy and engaged in order to give them a better chance at connectedness, which appears to be the magic behind social control and self-control..... The Standford case is a tragic example of taking this philosophy too far....
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How Restorative Justice Ended My ‘Cycle of Madness’

How Restorative Justice Ended My ‘Cycle of Madness’ | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
An inmate describes his struggle to come to grips with the aftermath of a terrible crime—and the tragedy he inflicted. Corrections authorities could encourage the process with restorative justice practices, he writes.
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On Incarceration, Rehabilitation, and Re-entry - LA Progressive

On Incarceration, Rehabilitation, and Re-entry - LA Progressive | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The incarcerated men were lead facilitators for several self-help programs that enable  participants to deal constructively with anger, criminal thinking, victim awareness, early  childhood trauma, and lack of education.

Two prisoners recently transferred out of Pelican Bay after spending a combined 36 years in its  Security Housing Unit (SHU) were in the audience. Each said they were impressed and looking  forward to this opportunity for rehabilitation for the first time in their incarceration experiences.

“I grew up around a lot of violence and a broken family,” said Chris Gallo, describing how he  gravitated to a criminal element of “skinheads” and committed “many acts of violence,” adding,  “I’m not proud of that.

“I began to see things differently after attending a Restorative Justice seminar,” Gallo said.  “When I was there, I kept my head down, not looking at the person speaking. However, the  speaker said something that really connected with me. When I looked up, I saw an African-American man talking about everything I went through. I began going to the sessions, and today,  me and that guy, Darnell ‘Moe’ Washington, are best friends.”
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Learning to forgive after dreams were shattered

Learning to forgive after dreams were shattered | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The dream of a place at the Rio Olympics is for sports people the pinnacle of their career, but imagine having that aspiration shattered by a horrific car accident.  That is what happened to Kate Hunter from Lincolnshire after the car she was travelling in was hit by a dangerous driver, which left her with life changing injuries.

In November 2015, nearly two years after the accident, Kate was able to forgive the man who was driving the car, after she took part in a Restorative Justice programme, run by Restorative Solutions.  Through the service, commissioned by the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones, facilitators were able to work with Kate and support her to meet the offender.

Suzanne McLardy, was the facilitator, she explained how she was able to support Kate.

“Kate really wanted the opportunity to meet Adam who was the driver of the car responsible for the accident. We had a number of meetings where I explained how the Restorative Justice process works and when she was ready, I arranged for Kate to meet Adam at HMP North Sea Camp. The meeting enabled Kate to express her feelings and address the anxieties she had”.

Kate Hunter’s mother Sue explains how the process has helped her daughter

“In the days that followed the court case she really struggled and expressed a wish to be able to write and/or meet with the perpetrator.   I contacted the Restorative Justice Team at Lincoln who were really lovely and arranged to come to our home and discuss the process. Over the weeks that followed we had a number of meetings where the procedures were explained to us in great detail ensuring that my daughter was made aware of every eventuality in the process. This was done with kindness, empathy and compassion and made us feel very secure

Without the Restorative Justice system, this negative would never have become a positive and I believe it is vital people understand how important this system is and how it can help people move forward and give them peace of mind”.
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Anna Gabriel's comment, September 21, 8:58 PM
Although this is just a small look into the events that occurred, I am curious how long after the fact was RJ utilized for the victim and the offender to meet. Also it appears as if the offender went through the due process model, therefore had the victim and offender already interacted in a court room setting? I think this would vary the relationship able to be built between the two immensely. If the offender pled guilty initially, if he was offered a deal, and if he has community supervision to follow would like to change the interactions between both parties. Although I know this is not necessarily the case, but it appears by the offender's quote in this article, that he feels relief after speaking with the victim. I understand that this is necessary in the healing process, and will allow him to further rehabilitate, but his comments make it appear that he is using this as a method for shifting blame, and now that he has spoken with the victim he is done dealing with this event and the process that is to follow. Chapter 5 discusses how RJ is not offender focused, and although this article does stress an impact on the victim being restored, it also expresses an interest on the offender feeling better. I thought this was an interesting perspective.
Rodney Ebersole's comment, September 25, 3:52 PM
It is great reading about how restorative justice programs are successfully allowing both victim and criminals to move on with their lives with the knowledge that they have been forgiven, they are forgiving or at least that questions that consume them are finally getting answered. No one wants to be victimized but the idea that at least the victim can know why the incident happened and maybe hear an apology is a great idea and I can see why this kind of program is working. I would like to think that all criminals want to see their victims learn to forgive them so they too can stop feeling guilty but I also know there are plenty of people who don’t care if they are forgiven or ever wish to talk to their victims but hopefully the ones who do will be able to.
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Geoffrey Bickford

Geoffrey Bickford | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
As co-chair of the New York County Lawyer's Association's Criminal Justice Section, Bickford has an opportunity to address criminal justice issues. He organizes continuing legal education courses and forums on such matters as the plight of women in state prisons—including the impact of incarceration on their children—and the ethical implications of Brady, in which prosecutors must disclose evidence that is favorable to defendants.
Another session Bickford held was on the emerging field of restorative justice, which attempts to go beyond punitive penalties to address the needs of crime victims, offenders and affected communities. It calls for victims to explain their suffering and loss due to the offender's actions, a process that calls for the participation of offenders, as well.
In contrast, many similar cases going through criminal courts involve negotiations between attorneys without any discussion of the crime and its impact.
"The humanity of the cases are sometimes lost because of the nature of the adversarial system, where cases are just processed as widgets," he said. "And everyone walks away without a sense of justice."
Bickford also co-authored a report examining recent state legislation to overhaul the state's bail statutes. Working with the New York City Bar Association's criminal courts committee, he is participating in a study examining the city's efforts to divert the mentally ill from the criminal court system. The findings are expected this fall.
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Training and Development - Restorative Forum

Training and Development - Restorative Forum | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Use this area to post training and development opportunities and have related discussions
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Drunk driver sped on, despite pleas

Drunk driver sped on, despite pleas | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
'COURAGEOUS' DECISION

Several of Blackler's friends and family, including his parents and brother, were present in court.

Crown prosecutor Andrew McRae said Blackler's family had indicated they would be willing to participate in the restorative justice process with Laughton.

Judge Saunders said the decision to participate in restorative justice was a "courageous" one.

Restorative justice was not an easy process to go through for anyone involved, he said.

"It's not something Mr Laughton himself will find easy. He has to face you in a way where he has to speak."

The court process could be "de-personalising", he said.

Restorative justice would give the family a chance to say some "hard things" and gauge remorse, he said.

Judge Saunders expressed his condolences for what the families of the victims had gone through.

Laughton was remanded on bail for sentencing on December 6.

Judge Saunders asked for a pre-sentence report to be completed, which would consider the possibility of an electronically-monitored sentence.
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From New Zealand: this is one of the places where RJ got its start as a method derived from the practices of the Maori....
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Is it time for America to move to Restorative Justice
In place of mass incarceration? | BREAKING NEWS | Sky Valley Chronicle Washington State News

Is it time for America to move to Restorative Justice<br/> In place of mass incarceration?  | BREAKING NEWS | Sky Valley Chronicle Washington State News | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Anne Block attorney
Rob Duke's insight:
I think we're creating a false dichotomy.  It's not vertical justice OR horizontal justice, but both.  The vertical system ensures that offenders know there is an "END OF THE LINE", but gives those who are merely misguided a chance to exit the train before the worst happens to them.....
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Meagan Olsen's comment, September 19, 8:17 PM
Professor Duke, I agree with you that it can’t be one or the other. We need both systems in order to have a successful justice system. I like how you put it that it gives those who are misguided a chance to exit the train, I think this is important because the prisons become too crowded with people who are first time offenders or people who could use a restorative method as opposed to jail time and still have the same results.
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Seeking the truth and protecting the vulnerable in Anchorage's domestic violence court

Thousands of petitions for domestic violence protection orders are filed in Anchorage each year. When once-lovers, friends and roommates feud in court, Magistrate Judge Suzanne Cole must decide who needs protection.
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Charleston police chief unveils final plan for Illumination Project

Charleston police chief unveils final plan for Illumination Project | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Almost one year after the announcement of an ambitious project to strengthen trust between citizens and law enforcement, Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen stood before members of City Council Tuesday evening to present a finalized plan for the Illumination Project. With a total of 86 strategies culled from public listening sessions, national studies, and police staff, Mullen stressed that this plan is just the beginning of something greater.

“We’re at a pivotal moment in our country as it relates to police trust and legitimacy, and to do nothing is not an option. It is not an option, and to engage in a journey that is challenging and risky and has the potential to inform generations to come has been our responsibility and, I think, one of the biggest honors I’ve ever had,” Mullen told City Council. “Tonight, I present to you this report. I hope you take a look at it and read it and understand that this is a bold and challenging effort that we’re about to undertake. What I would ask for you to do is as we undertake this, as the leadership of this community, I would ask for you to support us, to challenge us, to hold us accountable, just like I would ask the community to do. Because we told them 12 months ago that we would put something together that would make a difference in Charleston, and I really believe that has happened.”

The chief’s presentation was preceded by the citizens participation period of Tuesday’s council meeting, during which members of the public spoke on both sides of the proposed plan. Those in favor of the project said that they’ve seen a noticeable change in the discourse between police and citizens in their communities. On the other side, there were speakers who argued that the public must be weary of the Illumination Project being just a P.R. stunt and suggested that a true path to improvement would require spending less of the city’s money on law enforcement and investing more directly into the community. Charleston’s 2016 budget dedicated more than 51 percent or $82.2 million of the general fund operating budget to public safety, more than half of which went to police.
Rob Duke's insight:
This is a good example of James Buchanan's thesis that open and inclusive systems produce the best institutional arrangements.  They may improve over time, but they're probably the best we can establish at this moment in time....
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Study: Certain CA Counties Charge Youth as Adults More Often

Study: Certain CA Counties Charge Youth as Adults More Often | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Researchers from three nonprofit groups that work on juvenile justice also found that Yuba, Kings, Sutter, Napa and San Joaquin counties have the highest rates of direct file and San Francisco has the lowest -- because there, all juveniles are granted a fitness hearing before a juvenile-system judge.

"What this highlights is that it's not being used consistently by prosecutors," said Maureen Washburn, one of the report's co-authors and a policy analyst for the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, "that it's being used kind of at the discretion of a prosecutor and doesn't align with rates of crime that are happening in that county."
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Meagan Olsen's comment, September 19, 8:34 PM
This study showed that certain CA counties are charging youths as adults more frequently than other places in the nation. I don’t think this is fair or can be justified- like Washburn said, “What this highlights is that it's not being used consistently by prosecutors.” This is also affecting the prisons in CA, if more juveniles are being charged as adults, the prison population numbers are probably not where they should be which causes its own set of problems.
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Keeping Troubled Ohio Kids from Diving Deeper into the System

Keeping Troubled Ohio Kids from Diving Deeper into the System | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio is stepping up its efforts to reform the state's juvenile justice system and give troubled young people a second shot. The state announced $1.6 million in grants for nearly two dozen counties through the Department of Youth Services' Detention Alternatives and Enhancements Initiative. Coordinator Regina Lurry explains the money will be used to create evening assessment and reporting centers, crisis shelters, and respite services to help put young, nonviolent offenders on the right path.
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Meagan Olsen's comment, September 19, 8:39 PM
I think it is great that $1.6 million in grant money is being given to countries through the Department of Youth Services. If they think it will keep 800 youth out of the system in the next year, I think that is a great step in the right direction. I know money is always in issue in the justice system and is a reason why a lot of decisions have to be made the way they are and things can’t be better, but it is nice to see some money going to help make a change in the system.
Kristine Schwankl's comment, September 25, 11:27 PM
Too often, fiscal limitations get in the way of programming. With a lack of resources, it is important to take advantage of programs and treatment opportunities for juveniles in hopes of correcting negative behavior. Any positive impact that is made on troubled youth is worth the time and money, if available.
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Report: NM Juvenile Offenders Trapped in “Debtor’s Prison”

Report: NM Juvenile Offenders Trapped in “Debtor’s Prison” | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
SANTA FE, N.M. - Fines and fees within the juvenile-justice system can be crushing for families, according to a new report. According to the nonprofit Juvenile Law Center, young people who can't pay for alternative programs may do time when a wealthier offender may not.
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Meagan Olsen's comment, September 19, 8:44 PM
I think this is really similar to another article that just came out about how judges should lower fees associated with juvenile charges. It doesn’t make sense that a family without money for alternative programs may do time where wealthier families of the offender may not. This goes against the justice system being equal across the board and treating everyone fairly. I know this isn’t completely true but it just goes towards widening the gap that is already there.
Rob Duke's comment, September 25, 9:55 PM
Yes, and illustrates why the idea of running government like a business just doesn't work. Who is the customer and when? We said: oh well, the offender is the customer and should pay his\her own way." But that's not really true and the unintended consequences are themselves too costly. I think this is similar to the way we think about early release on ankle monitors where only those who can afford to lease the equipment and pay for the necessary phone/internet line can use the program....sure that's a good business decision, but what about equity considerations?
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Restorative justice a diversion, but not an easy way out for offenders

Restorative justice a diversion, but not an easy way out for offenders | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
After 16 years operating on the periphery of the justice system, an organization that brings together victims of crime and the offenders who wronged them is still going strong. Wellesley is one of 17 Greater Boston communities where Communities for Restorative Justice (C4RJ) does its work: providing a forum for victims, usually younger offenders, their respective support systems and the police to work through the crime, its impact and a path forward. “I just think we’re
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Meagan Olsen's comment, September 19, 8:49 PM
I really like how this article is showing the Restorative Justice method being affective in a community. Like the officer said, it gives young people a chance to repair the harm they have done and also stay out of the criminal justice system as much as possible. These offenders are usually shoplifters or vandals and they have to write letters to whoever was affected from their actions as well as their own families. I like this idea a lot because it might change a kid’s life and give them another chance, whereas if they did jail time, they might not have a chance to escape the system as easily.
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Scientists just got closer to understanding the genetic roots of crime - and it's making them nervous

That's significant, because ASPD has been linked with aggression, irritability, disregard for rules, disregard for other people, and dishonesty.
It's a controversial diagnosis — broad, ill-defined, and overlapping heavily with other disorders like psychopathy.
But there's reason to take it seriously. Twin studies suggest that genetics explain about half of the variance in ASPD diagnoses, and environmental factors the other half. And a new study has begun the task of identifying which genes are most likely involved in ASPD, with significant success.
An international team of Finnish, American, British, and Swedish researchers examined data from the Finnish CRIME sample — a database of psychological tests and genetic material from 794 Finnish prisoners taken between 2010-2011.
The findings of this study cannot be implemented for any prediction purposes, or brought into courthouses to be given any legal weight.
Of the 794 prisoners, a full 568 screened positive for ASPD. By comparing that group's genetic material to a large control sample from the general population, the researchers identified a number of genes that may play a role in at least some ASPD cases.
The study's results are interesting in and of themselves — advancing our understanding of ASPD from Genetics seem to play a role to These genes seem to play a role. This seems to be the first time researchers have made this leap with a personality disorder.
But just as interesting are the concerns the researchers express about how their research might be misused.
"The findings of this study cannot be implemented for any prediction purposes, or brought into courthouses to be given any legal weight," they write.
In the past, claims about specific genes and violence have been — in the researchers' words — "misused" by prosecutors as evidence that defendants are violent. And as more studies like this one link specific genes to the potential for violence, that danger only grows.
Rob Duke's insight:
794 prisoners...that's a pretty good study group.
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Meagan Olsen's comment, September 19, 9:01 PM
I found this article very interesting to read and learn about! The fact that scientists are able to understand and discover more about the genetic roots of people who commit crimes is amazing. I feel that this could be very beneficial for preventing some crime that may happen at a young age. If juveniles are starting to show signs of delinquency, they can be tested for ASPD and go from there depending what the results are. It is crazy that 1 or 3 in 100 people off the street may have ASPD but 40-70 out of 100 people in prison will have it is a huge finding!