Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice
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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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The “Recidivism Trap,” Or Why Measuring Failure Is the Wrong Way to Determine Whether Justice Policies Work |

The “Recidivism Trap,” Or Why Measuring Failure Is the Wrong Way to Determine Whether Justice Policies Work | | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it

When we look at how well or poorly a program or strategy in the criminal justice realm is working, the gold standard of assessment has traditionally been whether or not the strategy lowers recidivism rates.

Yet, in an intriguing new paper published this month, nationally regarded justice reform experts Jeffrey Butts and Vincent Schiraldi caution against falling into the “recidivism trap.”

When used as the sole measure of effectiveness, Schiraldi and Butts write, “recidivism misleads policymakers and the public…” and “focuses policy on negative rather than positive outcomes.”

Recidivism is not a comprehensive measure of success for criminal justice in general or for community corrections specifically, according to the two authors. When used to judge the effects of justice interventions on behavior, the concept of recidivism may even be harmful, “as it often reinforces the racial and class biases underlying much of the justice system.”

And that’s a big problem say Butts and Schiraldi.

Rob Duke's insight:
Measure instead: "desistance".  These are things that show a tendency towards more positive modes of living, like:

1. Getting older and maturing 
2. Family and relationships 
3. Sobriety 
4. Employment 
5. Hope and motivation 
6. Having something to give to others 
7. Having a place within a social group 
8. Not having a criminal identity 
9. Being “believed in”

So, given this, what changes could we make in our Justice System:

1. Insist That Recidivism Comparisons Involve Appropriately Matched Groups;
2. Use Other Measures to Assess the Effectiveness of Justice;
3. Increase the Policy Salience of Desistance;

Put another way, this is similar to that old illustration that firefighters present as the most basic fire education in school: the fire triangle.  Remember that on the three sides there was fuel, heat, and oxygen.  The idea was that if you take away even one of these, then the fire goes out.  This model is very similar at it's most basic level, because we know from research that crime is an intersection of economics, social disorganization, and maturity, thus this model seeks to bolster all three conditions by creating a sort of fire triangle matrix with employment, relationships, and maturity as the most basic factors that we seek to address.  This is a fundamental change from simply warehousing offenders in a punitive or incapacitation model waiting until they "age out" of crime.
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Rob Duke's curator insight, March 26, 10:50 AM
Measure instead: "desistance". These are things that show a tendency towards more positive modes of living, like: 
1. Getting older and maturing 
 2. Family and relationships 
 3. Sobriety 
 4. Employment 
 5. Hope and motivation 
 6. Having something to give to others 
 7. Having a place within a social group 
 8. Not having a criminal identity 
 9. Being “believed in” 

So, given this, what changes could we make in our Justice System: 
 1. Insist That Recidivism Comparisons Involve Appropriately Matched Groups; 
 2. Use Other Measures to Assess the Effectiveness of Justice; 
 3. Increase the Policy Salience of Desistance.

Put another way, this is similar to that old illustration that firefighters present as the most basic fire education in school: the fire triangle. Remember that on the three sides there was fuel, heat, and oxygen. The idea was that if you take away even one of these, then the fire goes out. This model is very similar at it's most basic level, because we know from research that crime is an intersection of economics, social disorganization, and maturity, thus this model seeks to bolster all three conditions by creating a sort of fire triangle matrix with employment, relationships, and maturity as the most basic factors that we seek to address. This is a fundamental change from simply warehousing offenders in a punitive or incapacitation model waiting until they "age out" of crime.
Dustin Drover's comment, March 31, 3:25 PM
This was a very unfamiliar and informative read. I never even thought about how changing what you measure as a way to change the out come. It seems as though all we care about is recidivism rates, which makes sense because it is a fundamental problem with our justice system. This article gave great insight to how we can change that problem by changing how we view and measure it. I like how they explained how measuring positive outcomes would inspire corrections staff to “to pay more attention to connecting clients with services, supports, and opportunities that facilitate desistance,” and I couldn’t agree more. When we focus on the bad things someone does we internalize our image of them as bad or “a lost cause”, but if we focus on their positive traits we also give them the feeling that someone believes in them. And when we feel that, we habitually want to do better because it means something.
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Criminal justice reforms have yet to save the state money, prison chief says | Homepagelatest | tulsaworld.com

Criminal justice reforms have yet to save the state money, prison chief says | Homepagelatest | tulsaworld.com | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
DOC Director Joe Allbaugh says a report that shows the state saw more than $63 million in savings "is a falsehood.” The Office of Management and Enterprise Services said it
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An Example of Restorative Justice with Sujatha Baliga - YouTube

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California bill would deem youth 12 and younger too young for court –

California bill would deem youth 12 and younger too young for court – | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
California, like most states, has no minimum age that would prevent courts from hearing cases of children who are charged with criminal offenses.
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California Today: Are Criminal Justice Reforms Making the State Safer? - The New York Times

California Today: Are Criminal Justice Reforms Making the State Safer? - The New York Times | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Wednesday: Migrant families reunited, Tesla goes to China and a milestone in San Francisco.
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ACLU Takes on “Informal” Probation Program It Says Criminalizes Kids for “Childish Behavior” |

ACLU Takes on “Informal” Probation Program It Says Criminalizes Kids for “Childish Behavior” | | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Rob Duke's insight:

In 1996, we had informal probation and I'd say it was abused.  I remember curfew round ups on a weekly basis not due to issues with kids out past curfew, but because we needed patrol cars to be washed.

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There Are Empty Beds. Here's What's Keeping Homeless People Out Of LA County Shelters

There Are Empty Beds. Here's What's Keeping Homeless People Out Of LA County Shelters | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
About 75 percent of the people who are homeless in L.A. on any given night are living in tents, cars, or out in the open.
Rob Duke's insight:

Sober living requirements are one problem.  Safety is another.  And, separating male/female family members is another.

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California Property Crime Surge Is Unintended Consequence of Proposition 47: Independent Institute

California Property Crime Surge Is Unintended Consequence of Proposition 47: Independent Institute | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it




California voters had high hopes for Proposition 47, a ballot initiative that passed in November 2014 to lower criminal penalties for various property and drug offenses and thereby ease the state's prison overcrowding problem. Although the initiative succeeded in meeting some objectives, it also triggered major unintended consequences that have harmed tens of thousands of law-abiding prope
Rob Duke's insight:

Prop. 47 has hurt RJ prospects across the U.S.--even though it's not true RJ...

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If you want to rob a car, go see Cal(ifornia)! –

If you want to rob a car, go see Cal(ifornia)! – | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
These vehicle-related thefts are particularly awful in the Bay Area. In 2017 there were 31,122 car burglaries reported in San Francisco, a crime rate that was at least four times higher than in Los…
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Getting LA’s Vulnerable Populations Into County Careers |

Getting LA’s Vulnerable Populations Into County Careers | | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
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Q and A With Student Suicide Prevention Expert - Campus Safety

Q and A With Student Suicide Prevention Expert - Campus Safety | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Recognizing the warning signs of suicide and intervening appropriately can help save student lives.
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How a small town in North Dakota got its groove back - Magic city

How a small town in North Dakota got its groove back - Magic city | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it

Racked by change, a community takes control of its future


Print edition | United States
Jun 7th 2018 | MINOT, NORTH DAKOTA
FEW places have seen as much change in as short a period of time as Minot, a town of about 50,000 in North Dakota (slogan: “We’re ready for you”). Much of the city is descended from Norwegian stock. The biggest event on its cultural calendar is a celebration of Nordic culture (slogan: “Pure Scandimonium!”). Until about a decade ago, it was the sort of place where people left their homes unlocked and their car keys in the ignition.

Then came the oil boom, spurred by the discovery of new oilfields in the Bakken rock under the ground to the west of the town. That brought with it money and migrants, but also crime and inflation. In the four years to April 2012 the median house value in America fell by a fifth. In Minot it jumped by nearly a third. In the same period Minot’s population grew 14%, compared with 3% for America as a whole. The Hispanic population grew even faster. “The shock for this community came from the diversity of colour and language,” says Tom Barry, the city manager.

After oil, the deluge. In 2011 the Souris river burst its banks and flooded the valley in which the town sits. Overnight 12,000 of the city’s then 40,000-odd residents found themselves homeless. “There wasn’t a spare couch in town,” says Thomas Schmidt, a retired high-school teacher whose house was flooded. It took weeks for the waters to recede, and several months more before people could move back into their homes. The after-effects can be felt to this day. Empty, water-damaged homes still dot the landscape. In March the city broke ground on a new flood wall.

The people of Minot had barely recovered from these twin shocks when they faced another test: the car park debacle. In 2011 the city council approved a $10.5m project for a developer to build parking downtown. It was meant to take three years, but work stalled and in 2015 the city paid the developer another $2.5m. The parking lots were eventually completed, at twice the original budget.

Like much of the Western world, Minot was reeling from rapid change, immigration and inefficient government. For a deeply conservative town in the middle of North Dakota, it was all too much. In 2016, a few months before a political tidal wave hit America, Minot took a radical step of its own. Spurred by a citizens’ initiative, the city voted to overhaul its government, halving the size of the council to seven. Previously only four the 14 aldermen had to contest their seats and Chuck Barney, the mayor, ran unopposed. That has changed.

It seems to have worked. The new council is younger and more dynamic, emphasising the importance of being able to walk around, of making Minot more pleasant and reviving its centre. Despite grumbling by a few older residents about changes—a plan for new rubbish bins echoed previous grievances—the city seems upbeat.

“People are more optimistic today because of the change in the nature of city government,” says Michael Sasser, the editor of the Minot Daily News, a conservative local paper. The long-awaited car parks are functional and local elections on June 12th are attracting competition: three candidates are running for mayor and three open council seats are being fought over by six contenders.

Oil prices are rising again, which could lead to a boomlet, but the town is keen not to repeat the mistakes of the past. It is investing in its downtown and hopes, if not to attract office workers from elsewhere, at least to offer a life vibrant enough to persuade its own educated young people to stay put. Bars and cafes have started popping up. And it is more diverse. Grocery stores selling foreign foods have proliferated, says one councillor proudly, and foreign languages no longer elicit surprise. Minotians once travelled to the Chinatown in Winnipeg, Manitoba—not exactly a metropolis—to shop, says Josh Wolsky, an alderman. But “now everything you can get in Winnipeg you can get here.”

Rob Duke's insight:

Here's some illustration of the Arrow Theorem, Coase Theorem, and the other institutionalists.

It matters where you start because that dictates (often enough) where you'll end (Arrow); and, be careful how you craft Institutions, because the market always finds an efficient outcome for those rules (rewards, punishments, incentives, disincentives), but it may not be the most equitable outcome.

On the other hand, we do know through an extension of institutional theory that we can co-generate value and the basic management of public space and public values.  See for instance, Kotter & Lawrence's Co-Alignment theory as some of the earliest examples of this idea.  (1972) Mayors in Action.

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Texas Schools Credit Restorative Justice Programs for Suspension Drops - Campus Safety

Texas Schools Credit Restorative Justice Programs for Suspension Drops - Campus Safety | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
One Houston middle school that has seen a 50 percent drop in out-of-school suspensions has two 35-minute sessions each week for teachers and students to discuss their feelings.
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Three suspects arrested in killing of gang intervention worker celebrated as a peacemaker

On July 1, gang interventionist Garry "Twin" Dorton was fatally shot outside a friend’s house on the 4500 block of South Van Ness Avenue. Los Angeles police detectives have arrested three men in their teens and early 20s — the very group that Dorton, 48, devoted his life to saving.
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A Restorative Justice Meeting (Short Version) - YouTube

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Koch Project Tests New Inmate Rehab Model

Koch Project Tests New Inmate Rehab Model | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
A project funded by the network aligned with billionaire Charles Koch will monitor 1,100 inmates in four states after they are released from prison starting Aug. 1 to help them reintegrate into society, reports the Washington Post. Through “Safe Streets and Second Chances,” Florida State University researchers will evaluate former inmates for 15 months. The project is in a $4 million pilot phase to test the effectiveness of a reentry model that focuses on individualized plans to help inmates find healthy coping and thinking patterns, the right employment opportunities and positive social engagement. Researchers have been interviewing men and women housed in 48 prisons in Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.
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Crime Initiative Thwarted by Registrar's Bureaucracy

Crime Initiative Thwarted by Registrar's Bureaucracy | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
To qualify for the November 2018 ballot, 365,880 valid signatures were required.  Supporters of the Keeping California Safe Act submitted over 570,000 signatures to Registrars of Voters in counties across the state for verification. To date, six counties have not reported the number of signatures turned in. The remaining counties reported a total number of 565,398 signatures. The next step for each county is to conduct a random sample check to determine what percentage of signatures are valid. The random sample checks which were done revealed that over 75% of signatures turned in were valid. Yet when the deadline for random sample verification arrived, the initiative fell about 19,000 short of the required number of signatures.
What happened?  More than 100,000 submitted signatures were not counted because a total of thirteen Registrars did not conduct the random sample validation process in time. These counties include San Diego, Ventura, Contra Costa and San Joaquin.  These four counties alone accounted for more than 95,000 signatures received but not verified by the deadline for the 2018 election.
There is no excuse for that failure, especially when one learns that Registrars in other counties that received large numbers of signatures were able to complete that process in time. These counties include Los Angeles County (more than 176,000 signatures); San Bernardino County (over 36,000 signatures); Riverside County (more than 34,000 signatures); and Fresno County (over 29,000 signatures).
Signature turn-in date cannot be faulted for the failure, as several counties that did validate signatures, received those signatures later than some of the counties that failed to complete the verification process.
With a verification rate above 75%, there is no question that had the thirteen Registrars done their job; the Keeping California Safe Act would have qualified for the 2018 ballot.
The initiative process is a vital tool for voters in California to propose and enact laws that the legislature refuses to consider. If the gatekeepers of the initiative process are county Registrar of Voters, who are tasked with verifying signatures by a deadline, then they must perform that job.  It is not a complex job, as demonstrated by the Los Angeles County Registrar’s ability to validate over 176,000 signatures in a matter of days.
It’s not all bad news. The initiative should still qualify for the 2020 election once these thirteen counties eventually turn in their validation numbers. But this should be a wake-up call for the Board of Supervisors in the counties where the failure to timely perform the signature verification process occurred.  With many of the largest counties in the state able to accomplish the verification task, the explanations by these other Registrars of why they did not validate signatures in time to qualify the initiative for the November 2018 election will prove, at the very least, to be interesting.
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Rural (In)Justice: The Hidden Crisis in America's Jails

Rural (In)Justice: The Hidden Crisis in America's Jails | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The use of jails to house individuals with serious mental illness is contributing to the skyrocketing growth in jail populations across the U.S.—particularly in rural and small counties—experts told a conference at John Jay College Tuesday.
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Neighboring News: Malibu City Council Adopts Homeless Plan

Neighboring News: Malibu City Council Adopts Homeless Plan | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Malibu City Council marked a major milestone, voting unanimously to adopt Malibu’s Homelessness Strategic Plan during the Council meeting on Monday, June 25. “This is a great example of a grassroots movement of people and community-based organizations responding to a need, partnering with the City, and evolving into a community-wide effort involving residents, organizations, faith …
Rob Duke's insight:

Make it difficult to build homes and house prices rise to the point where many can't afford to live with a roof over their heads.

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Mexico's president-elect will propose amnesty law

Mexico's president-elect will propose amnesty law | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The security advisers for President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Friday that amnesty legislation aimed at lessening violence will be developed with the input of crime victims and presented to Mexico's congress.
Rob Duke's insight:

It sounds like he's taking a page from the Tutu/Mandela play book.

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Skyrocketing crime rate in California called 'good progress' after jails emptied

Skyrocketing crime rate in California called 'good progress' after jails emptied | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
People in San Francisco have had their cars broken into so frequently that they think this is the
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Editorial: Proposition 47 isn’t working and never did –

Editorial: Proposition 47 isn’t working and never did – | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The release of the latest study about “sentencing reform” and Proposition 47 provided yet another interesting case study that you can take solid information and spin it in any direction you wish. S…
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Law Enforcement Think Tank Gives 9 Key Recommendations On How To Prevent 'Gun Violence' - Beth Baumann

Law Enforcement Think Tank Gives 9 Key Recommendations On How To Prevent 'Gun Violence' - Beth Baumann | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
What law enforcement recommends..06/12/2018 18:04:35PM EST.
Rob Duke's insight:

It's a shame that they didn't mention nonviolent communication or other RJ tools.

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Why Do LA’s Foster Care Facilities Keep Calling the Cops on Traumatized Kids? |

Why Do LA’s Foster Care Facilities Keep Calling the Cops on Traumatized Kids? | | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
On March 21, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed an important motion that instructed the Director of the Office of Child Protection,  Michael Nash, former presiding judge of Los Angeles County’s Juvenile Court, to find out why so many of LA County’s foster children were crossing into the county’s delinquency system, what could be done to prevent that crossing, and how these so-called crossover kids could be helped if and when and if they found themselves in the clutches of both county systems.

“Preventing youth in the dependency system from being arrested or
having contact with the Probation Department is imperative,” the motion read. The sense of urgency was understandable, given the research on how poorly crossover kids tend to do, statistically, when they reach adulthood.
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Mister Rogers Talked Frankly With Kids About 'Grown-Up' Issues That Weren't : NPR

Mister Rogers Talked Frankly With Kids About 'Grown-Up' Issues That Weren't : NPR | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
On being "cutting edge" in respecting the emotional maturity of children

What he's doing is not just providing joy for children but really trying to allay fear. When he looked at children what he realized is that most adults condescend to children. When bad things happen they say, "Don't worry about it," or "It wasn't anything." And kids are way too smart and intuitive to not know when those things are happening. So what he decided to do is to level with kids — to really speak to them honestly and say, "Yes something bad happened, but let me tell you why, and let me explain it in age-appropriate terms." Because he really felt that fear was was the most destructive force in our society.
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Is The “First Step Act” Real Reform?

Is The “First Step Act” Real Reform? | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The First Step Act, which passed the House of Representatives Tuesday, has been a hot-button topic for Congress. It addresses the dire need for rehabilitative services in the federal prison system, proves there is strong bipartisan support for at least modest criminal justice reform and underscores a strategic debate that has split the Democratic Party.What is the First Step Act? The bill, sponsored by Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat, and Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican, seeks to add educational and vocational training and mental health treatment in federal prison. It earmarks $50 million a year over five years to expand these in-prison opportunities. It also expands the number of days in a halfway house or home confinement that inmates can earn for good behavior and self-improvement. It would expand the use of risk assessment tools—algorithms that try to predict future behavior. It bans the shackling of pregnant women; calls for placing prisoners in facilities that are within 500 driving miles of their families; and helps them get identification cards upon release.
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