Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice
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Fear and Loathing Near Las Vegas or Weakness and Self-Absorption on the Hiking Trail | Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation

The Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation owes its beginnings to a group of leading scholars and practitioners who sought to influence individual and societal views of conflict.
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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.
Curated by Rob Duke
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Sheriff on Alabama's mental health crisis: 'It all falls back on the jails'

Sheriff on Alabama's mental health crisis: 'It all falls back on the jails' | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Three initiatives are underway in north Alabama – all dramatically different, all seeking the path to provide the help mentally ill people need and no consensus to guide them.
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Police stage social media 'real-time' calls initiative

Police stage social media 'real-time' calls initiative | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Leicestershire Police posted messages and images in real time across a range of social media channels about incidents attended by teams of officers who are based in Loughborough but cover the whole of North West Leicestershire.
Rob Duke's insight:
This is an interesting experiment in flattening the police structure to function more on the horizontal level.
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Joint Letter: AFR and 280 Allies Strongly Support CFPB Action Against Forced Arbitration - Americans for Financial Reform

"The undersigned... organizations strongly support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s proposed rule to limit pre-dispute binding mandatory (or forced) arbitration clauses in consumer finance contracts. The CFPB rule, which will restore consumers’ ability to band together in court to pursue claims, is a significant step forward in the ongoing fight to curb predatory practices in consumer financial products and services and to make these markets fairer and safer. "
Rob Duke's insight:
The other side to too much horizontal justice is the feeling that the movement is hijacked by corporate interests.  While mediation and other horizontal systems tend to reserve conflict (and the value hidden in conflict) to the local community, it can also be seen to shield some from the wider condemnation that would likely arise if their "crimes" were to become public.

Does this make sense?
How do we protect against these injustices?
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'We Felt We Weren’t Qualified To Be Making These Decisions'

'We Felt We Weren’t Qualified To Be Making These Decisions' | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
A former corrections officer talks about her frustration with the lack of mental health care in jails.
Rob Duke's insight:
See David Rothman's excellent history of mental health in the U.S. in "The Discovery of the Asylum".
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Bill to allow more felons to vote heads to Jerry Brown

Bill to allow more felons to vote heads to Jerry Brown | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The California State Senate gave final approval Tuesday to legislation that would restore voting rights for tens of thousands of felons not in prison or on parole.
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It’s Children Against Federal Lawyers in Immigration Court

It’s Children Against Federal Lawyers in Immigration Court | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Since October 2004, more than half of children who did not have lawyers were deported, while only one in 10 children who had lawyers were sent back.
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The Anchorage residents who work overtime to prevent crime in their neighborhoods

The Anchorage residents who work overtime to prevent crime in their neighborhoods | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
More than a neighborhood watch, but not cops, how regular people are helping maintain law and order on their blocks.
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Williamson County Veterans Court to receive $104K in state...

Williamson County Veterans Court to receive $104K in state... | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
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Sailor Denied 'Clinton Deal', Gets 1 Year in Prison for 6 Photos of Sub

Sailor Denied 'Clinton Deal', Gets 1 Year in Prison for 6 Photos of Sub | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
A former Navy machinist mate who admitted taking photos inside a nuclear submarine was sentenced to a year in prison Friday, with a federal judge rebuffing a request for probation in light of authorities deciding not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information on a private email server as secretary of state.

Kristian Saucier’s attorneys argued in a court filing last week that Clinton had been "engaging in acts similar to Mr. Saucier" with information of much higher classification. It would be "unjust and unfair for Mr. Saucier to receive any sentence other than probation for a crime those more powerful than him will likely avoid," attorney Derrick Hogan wrote.

U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill sentenced Saucier to one year in prison and a $100 fine, along with six months home confinement, 100 hours of community service and a ban on owning guns, his legal team says. Prosecutors had asked for six years behind bars.
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Private Prisons Aren’t Going Anywhere Despite DOJ Decision

Private Prisons Aren’t Going Anywhere Despite DOJ Decision | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Private Prisons Aren’t Going Anywhere Despite DOJ Decision
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Justice Department says it will end use of private prisons

Justice Department says it will end use of private prisons | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
In the wake of critical reports, the deputy attorney general told officials to reduce or decline to renew deals with contractors.
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To Innovate, Think Like a 19th-Century Barn Raiser

To Innovate, Think Like a 19th-Century Barn Raiser | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The barn-raising approach purposely and actively elevates community, connection, and a diversity of viewpoints above ideas and individuals. Too often, new initiatives – especially in big organizations – are developed through a series of inward-facing brainstorming sessions, which are designed to capture the core team’s thinking on the subject. Too often, proposals that look great in PowerPoint turn out to be unappealing, unhelpful, or unworkable to the people whom the success of an idea ultimately depends. And, even when brainstorming initiatives succeed in launching, those in charge of executing the ideas must build out external channels and support systems from scratch.

Pitfalls like these can largely be avoided with a simple ecosystem-focused approach – as farming communities knew in the 19th century, and as the Kickstarter and CGI communities know today. All it requires are a few steps anyone can follow.

Curate. Deliberately seek out different perspectives and actively explore them. In your curating, recruit the people who will be affected by your new product or service, and pay special attention to second order and even third order stakeholders. These stakeholders represent those who provide support services or add-ons to your products or services. This will help to ensure your perspective is ecosystem-based. Having the right people is more important than having the right idea.
Convene. Bring this curated group together – either in person or virtually via a platform – to connect, share ideas, share perspectives, and contribute their input to the initiative at hand.
Commit. Ask participants to commit something toward the initiative. This could be something as small as a bit of their time and attention. It could be introductions. It could be expertise. It could even be resources, partnerships, or funding. What each participant contributes will give you information on how they perceive your initiative’s effect on the greater ecosystem of which they are a part.
Cultivate. After the convening, continue to cultivate relationships with those who have contributed and committed to the initiative. They represent your initial ecosystem.
Repeat. Once you’ve raised and launched your initiative, periodically check back in with the community by hosting other barn-raising events. As you do so, your initiative will grow, and the ecosystem and connections will grow with it.
By adapting an ecosystem mindset, you will capture more than ideas. You will bind people, networks, and resources together. And if you get those elements right, your initiative will have a better chance of being successful.
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7 Things to Say When a Conversation Turns Negative

7 Things to Say When a Conversation Turns Negative | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Reframe — Cast the issue in a different light. Describe the other person’s words or actions in a way that behooves future interactions. If someone says, “I don’t want to fight about this,” a useful reframe of that comment is, “This is a debate, certainly not a fight. And you’re a good debater, as I recall.”

Rephrase — Say the words in a different, less negative way. Should someone accuse you of having come on too strongly in a meeting, you might reply, “I was passionate.” If you’re described as stubborn, you could say, “I’m very determined when something is important to a successful effort.” Rather than let inaccurate or offensive words pass, suggest replacements.

Revisit — Use an earlier success to redefine a current failure. If the people involved in a conversation have a previous history of positive interactions, it can help to remind them of past success and their ability to find common ground: “We have a good track record working together. No reason to change that now.”

Restate — Clarify or redirect negative wording. Anyone can inadvertently give offense or spark disagreement. At such times, it’s useful to employ one of my favorite strategies: Give them a chance to do the right thing. “Surely there’s another way to say that” or “Did you mean what I think I heard?” are useful ways to encourage a person to reconsider and alter what was said.

Request — Ask a question. When in doubt about a person’s intention, one sensible approach is to check your perceptions by querying them before reacting negatively: “Would you clarify for me what you meant just then?”

Rebalance — Adjust the other person’s power. People cede power unnecessarily when they allow another individual to make them miserable or undermine their work. Often, such power imbalance can be changed. One way is to reduce the impact on you with your attitude — refusing to be upset — or by saying, “Fortunately, I’m not easily offended, especially by one-off situations like this.”

Reorganize — Change the priority of the issues. Direct the conversation away from personal concerns by focusing on process. For example, one comeback might be, “We seem to agree on the what but are having some difficulty with the how.” In this way, you cut the problem in half. The focus is now on only one aspect of what might otherwise appear to be an intractable impasse.

Versatility separates effective communicators from those who are pushed and pulled through conversations — and life. The next time you face what appears to be a roadblock, whether due to offense or confusion, consider the types of comebacks above. Experimentation is the only way to become at least 75% responsible for how we’re treated. Otherwise, we spend much of our days stuck in ruts, being predictable, and getting nowhere. There’s no fun or benefit in that.
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Seattle could open housing for homeless where it’s OK to use heroin

Seattle could open housing for homeless where it’s OK to use heroin | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The Heroin Task Force formed by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine has endorsed the creation of safe-consumption sites for addicts, which would be a first in the U.S.
Rob Duke's insight:
An example of treating drug abuse as a health problem...harm reduction over ineffective incarceration policy....
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Judge sides with Indian tribe in lawsuit against Sheriff's Department

Judge sides with Indian tribe in lawsuit against Sheriff's Department | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
An Indian tribe whose reservation is on sovereign land within San Bernardino County has won a round in court against the Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office.
On Aug. 16, U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee granted the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe’s request for a preliminary injunction against the county, barring deputies from citing tribal members on the reservation on suspicion of failing to register their vehicles, failing to provide proof of insurance or driving on a suspended or revoked license, according to court records.
A lawsuit filed in July 2015 says that deputies, despite lacking jurisdiction, cited four tribal members driving on the reservation. The lawsuit contends that portions of the Vehicle Code cannot be enforced on reservations and asks that a judge order the sheriff's deputies to cease the practice.
The Chemehuevi Indians live in the Mojave Desert along the Colorado River basin.
Rob Duke's insight:
Tribes are increasingly recognized as reasonable arbiters of their own justice systems.
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To stop them becoming terrorists, Italy is giving teens €500 to spend on high culture

To stop them becoming terrorists, Italy is giving teens €500 to spend on high culture | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The Italian government has a nice present for the teens in the country celebrating their 18th birthday this year—€500 ($566) to spend at theatres, concerts, and museums. The scheme starts on Sept. 15 and will benefit around 575,000 teenagers. It was first announced last year in response to the deadly Paris terrorist attacks. The governmen
Rob Duke's insight:
Joseph Nye argues for a mix of Hard Power (military/police) and Soft Power (diplomacy/hearts & minds programs) to make up something called Smart Power....

The Justice system can adopt these ideas to be more effective...
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'She Was Afraid To Go Back To Jail'

'She Was Afraid To Go Back To Jail' | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The story of Athena Covarrubias, who hanged herself in a Texas jail last year.
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Community Voice: Here's why your sheriff cares about school attendance

Community Voice: Here's why your sheriff cares about school attendance | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
As the sheriff of Kern County, it is my responsibility to keep the citizens of and visitors to Kern County as safe as possible. Although truancy may seem to be an issue for schools to address, it is also an issue that each one of us in Kern County should be concerned about. Truancy has been linked to serious delinquent activity, as well as negative behavior displayed by adults later in life. Unexcused absences have been associated with substance abuse, gang activity, and other “quality of life” crimes such as burglary, vandalism, and thefts. Additionally, adults who missed school as juveniles are found to have a higher likelihood of lower paying jobs, living in poverty, relying more on public assistance, and being incarcerated.
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Virginia’s McAuliffe to announce restoration of voting rights to 13,000 felons

Virginia’s McAuliffe to announce restoration of voting rights to 13,000 felons | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The move comes a month after a GOP lawsuit blocked the Democratic governor’s first attempt at a sweeping clemency order.
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California crime measure triggers 52,000 fewer arrests

California crime measure triggers 52,000 fewer arrests | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A 2014 California voter-approved initiative that reduced penalties for certain drug and property crimes has led to the lowest arrest rate in state history as police frequently ignore those illegal activities, experts say.

Proposition 47 lowered criminal sentences by reducing them from felonies that can bring long prison sentences to misdemeanors that instead bring up to a year in jail.

Recent state Department of Justice statistics show the number of felony arrests plummeted 28.5 percent last year, while misdemeanor arrests rose about 9 percent over 2014. That resulted in 52,000 fewer arrests overall and the lowest arrest rate since record-keeping began in 1960.

"It's really driven by changes in drug and property arrests," said Public Policy Institute of California researcher Magnus Lofstrom, who studies the issue. "I think it's quite clear that Prop. 47 is the major contributor to the changes we've seen."

Last year's decline in arrests, with the fewest felony arrests since 1969, is part of a long-term decline dating to the 1980s that has been spurred by the law as well as crowded jails and fewer police, Lofstrom said.

It's too soon to say whether the changes are helping spur rising crime rates, though Lofstrom and other researchers are watching the relationship closely.

Law enforcement officials said drug offenders may now commonly be cited and released, or ignored because there may be little penalty if they are arrested. There were about 22,000 fewer drug arrests last year.

"The de facto decriminalization of drugs may have an impact," said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the California State Sheriffs' Association. "We do know that there's a lot less arrests being made, which means there are a lot more people on the streets using drugs."

Multiple courts reported an increase in failures to appear for misdemeanor arraignments since Proposition 47 passed, the Judicial Council of California found in a survey of 40 of the state's 58 county superior courts.

"If people aren't showing up in court, if they're not going to go to drug court, we're going to see what we're seeing, which is increased crime rates in our communities," said Ventura Police Chief Ken Corney, president of the California Police Chiefs Association.

State Department of Justice figures show violent crime jumped 10 percent last year over 2014. Property crimes also increased, including a nearly 12 percent increase in shoplifting and nearly 11 percent increase in thefts, two crimes affected by Proposition 47.

But participation in drug courts has rebounded as counties adapted to Proposition 47 by including it in sentences for those charged with misdemeanors or drug-related crimes such as stealing to support their addictions, said Santa Clara County Judge Stephen Manley.

"I think it's been a fairly dramatic response to getting treatment to the people that need it the most," said Manley, president of the California Association of Drug Court Professionals.

Mel Sargent, 66, and Caroline Sargent, 54, even married on the day they graduated from an 11-month drug court program in March. Sacramento County probation officers bought them wedding rings.

"Before it was always the 'war against drugs,'" Sargent said. "We got to see the other side, the more human side of the probation department and the judiciary."

The initiative has also led to fewer plea bargains, probably because suspects have less incentive to accept plea deals without the threat of a felony conviction or prison time, the Judicial Council found.

It reported that prosecutors also seem to be filing more charges for felony drug sales, identity theft and robbery now that drug possession, writing bad checks and check forgery were reduced to misdemeanors.

"Some DA's offices have tried to charge their way around Prop. 47, no question about it," said John Abrahams, co-chairman of the California Public Defenders Association's legislative committee.

But California District Attorneys Association chief executive Mark Zahner said law enforcement officials may now simply be targeting more serious criminals.

....this year's state budget includes $15 million for police to experiment with using case managers and diversion programs to help prostitutes and low-level drug dealers instead of putting them in jail.

Without help, "they're released in a short period of time and go right back to the same situation," said Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, who pushed for the funding.

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President Obama & DHS: Stop paying For-Profit Companies to Lock Up Immigrants!

President Obama & DHS: Stop paying For-Profit Companies to Lock Up Immigrants! | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The incarceration of immigrants has skyrocketed under President Obama, allowing the private prison industry to rake in massive profits by locking up immigrants in facilities where they often face abuse, violence, unsanitary conditions, and lack of proper medical care. The Department of Justice is phasing out the use of private prisons, saying that they are…
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How Did Antonin Scalia Shape American Policing?

How Did Antonin Scalia Shape American Policing? | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
In recent years, Scalia emerged as the Fourth Amendment’s greatest champion, often ruling against the police. He was particularly steadfast in guarding the sanctity of the home, or limiting police use of new technologies. He wrote the main opinion in United States v. Jones, holding that the Fourth Amendment governed long-term GPS surveillance of a suspected drug dealer’s car. And he wrote a critical opinion saying that the police have to get a warrant before they use new technologies to gather information from inside homes—in that case the police had used a thermal heat sensor to figure out the defendant was growing pot with heat lamps.

Still, Scalia-as-champion of Fourth Amendment rights has two complications of its own.


First, Scalia also authored or joined other opinions that give the police greater license. He believed that merely running away when police were in the vicinity was enough to provide probable cause to search a person. He joined opinions allowing the police to approach people in the confined spaces of buses and ask to search bags and bodies with no cause at all to believe the person had done anything wrong. He wrote a majority opinion saying that the cops could stop people for the most trivial of traffic offenses—like turning without signaling—even if the stop was a complete pretext to investigate something like drug dealing. Decisions like these give cops a great deal of discretion, which accounts in part for the racial disparities in the criminal-justice system today.
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Obama Justice Department Joins The Fight Against America's Bail Industry

Obama Justice Department Joins The Fight Against America's Bail Industry | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The department on Friday denounced bail practices that result in "unnecessary incarceration."
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Listen to Your Employees, Not Just Your Customers

Listen to Your Employees, Not Just Your Customers | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
New research shows the power of feedback loops.
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Broad Coalition of Senate Democrats Call on Top Consumer Agency to Move Swiftly to Limit Unfair Arbitration Agreements in Everyday Financial Contracts | Al Franken | Senator for Minnesota

Today, a group of nearly 40 Democratic Senators—led by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Al Franken, and Sens. Patrick Leahy and Sherrod Brown—called on one of the nation's top consumer advocacy agencies to quickly finalize an important proposal to limit the use of what is called "forced arbitration" in contracts that Americans sign when they need to take out an auto loan, sign up for a checking account, or pay for college.
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