Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice
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Federal mediators to join NHL lockout talks - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Federal mediators to join NHL lockout talks - Pittsburgh Post Gazette | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Federal mediators to join NHL lockout talksPittsburgh Post GazetteFederal Mediation and Conciliation Service director George H. Cohen announced today that deputy director Scot L.
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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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Stop Squeezing Prisoners' Families for Cash

Stop Squeezing Prisoners' Families for Cash | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Replacing visitors' hours with costly videoconferencing is a short-sighted policy.
Rob Duke's insight:
There's a balancing act.  While goods and services are expensive, especially with a middleman, we find that purely third-party vendors tend to cheat and jeopardize security or smuggle in contraband.  Equally bad, most of the time, is having inefficient government bureaucracy provide goods and services.  Given this, the option of having a bonded and regulated third party is probably the best option, because we get security and it's not as prone to error or waste as is a bureaucracy.
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Rabbi Brings Her Vision to Sheriff Oversight Panel

Rabbi Brings Her Vision to Sheriff Oversight Panel | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
When Rabbi Heather Miller visited a jail for the first time in February, the conditions took her by surprise. “I saw grown men who society demonize
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How to Navigate the Politics of an Innovation Project

How to Navigate the Politics of an Innovation Project | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it

Everyone wants innovation in their organization; it drives growth and revenues, promotes cultural change, and moves society forward.

We often forget, however, that meaningful innovation efforts can have a disruptive side. Namely, some people’s ideas will win, and those of others will lose. That’s because innovation requires allocation and deployment of organizational resources, often significant amounts, without definitive proof of future returns. This ambiguity allows politics to enter into the choice process, as people attempt to influence decision-makers toward favoring innovations that advance their individual interests.

Thus, when early-stage innovations or those that need to be implemented to collect performance data lack hard performance evidence, politics tend to preserve the current state of power and control over physical and social resources. For example, interviews with managers of established technology hardware firms showed that their resource-allocation processes favored sustaining innovations (those that had high margins and targeted large, well-known markets and customers) over disruptive innovations (those that had yet to generate hard evidence on their benefits).4

The good news is that those interested in promoting innovation can use these politics to work for them, as Denise did in four steps.

Step 1: Anticipate Resistance
Part of the motivation for innovation is the constant clamor within organizations — especially from leadership — for original, creative ideas. “Think outside the box” has become a ubiquitous directive, aimed at spurring off-the-beaten-path strategies, tactics, and viewpoints, whether related to products, operations, or marketing.

But in most cases, the resources needed to back innovation have already been deployed or earmarked for existing agenda items. Diverting any significant portion of those already-dedicated resources to your new idea might jeopardize existing initiatives’ chances for success. This dilemma can result in resistance or apathy for your idea — even among those who really like it — because people can’t afford to prematurely pull the plug on an initiative they already have a stake in.

That’s exactly what happened to Denise when she first proposed her efficiency idea to the firm’s business unit heads. They were immediately dismissive, citing the high transaction costs of processes like coordinating the different part numbers used across different units. The idea appeared dead on arrival. After all, even the most promising innovations are unlikely to be adopted if they threaten the success of current initiatives and investments that leaders must show returns on. But Denise’s innovation gained new life later when she tied the idea more clearly to an existing corporate agenda at the firm.

If you know what people might object to then you can position your innovation strategically: as something new and creative, but not as a resource-depleting departure from the organization’s existing agenda. That is, you can make the idea “just fresh enough.” This approach provides supporters with a direct benefit of adopting your new idea.


Step 2: Unmask Political Motives
The second step is to reconcile publicly stated resistance to your idea with its true, hidden motivation.

When politics are part of the decision process, colleagues may not present all the real reasons they oppose your innovation. Instead they’ll offer publicly acceptable reasons — a presentable “mask” that often has to do with practical considerations such as costs, time, or complexity, but not reasons that reveal clearly their individual interests.

In our example, the public reason the business unit executives gave for opposing Denise’s innovation was the potentially high transaction costs it would entail. That sounds reasonable enough, and it was a valid problem that had to be solved for her innovation to work. But in addition to the transaction-costs problem, Denise surmised that there was an underlying political motive that also had to be addressed.

First, she knew that her innovative initiative was conceptually solid but lacked hard performance data.  Second, she found out that the unit heads stockpiled their inventory, a costly arrangement for the whole company, to limit their unit’s chance of shortages and delays (incidentally potentially keeping inventory from other units that had run through their own stockpile). Thus, she reasoned that some of the business units would view the indirect benefits of better companywide performance as less valuable to them than preserving their current “me-first” motivations.

Confronting people directly about any hidden motives is unlikely to be effective. Instead, Denise tried to get behind the political mask when company leaders launched a new strategic initiative to improve the firm’s overall return on assets (inventory being one kind of asset). In this shifting context, Denise saw an opportunity to advance her innovation, but she needed to expand her network to do so.

Step 3: Find the Right Champion
While the new return-on-assets mandate theoretically required business units to work together, there wasn’t yet sufficient motive for most unit executives to adopt Denise’s plan. She lacked sufficient clout.

That changed when Denise found the right champion for her idea.

Specifically, now that Denise recognized the politics of innovation — driven by the winners and losers it created — she had to find a senior executive more likely to come out a winner through implementation. She found that in the firm’s Director of Corporate Logistics and Information Systems, whom I’ll call Pramesh.

Pramesh created a technology patch that made inventory transfers swift and accurate across the diverse inventory-tracking systems used by different business units. This negated the public complaint that Denise’s innovation was too costly. Pramesh also solved the political problem because he was accountable for company-wide performance and therefore seen as motivated to boost corporate-wide profits. The business units valued their individual profits over corporate returns. Denise was able to get Pramesh on board by emphasizing that her initiative benefited corporate-wide profits first and foremost.

Even with this management support, Denise still had one more hurdle to clear before going wide with her idea: providing “social proof” for the innovation’s merit.

Step 4: Secure Social Proof
Most forms of innovation face a common dilemma: people won’t support an idea without sufficient evidence it works, but securing data-based evidence for an idea’s effectiveness requires launching it in some form.

You can get around this dilemma by providing alternative evidence for the idea’s potential, in the form of social proof. Here the goal is not to collect hard data on projected outcomes, but to create a critical mass of people who believe in the innovation sufficiently to give it a try. Once that critical mass is achieved, more people will be willing to support the idea.


Social proof is the mechanism behind people’s beliefs in everything from the effectiveness of a laundry detergent to the dangers of climate change. Even when facts are readily available — such as the solubility of the detergent in hot water or the rate of the projected rise in global temperature — people use social proof as a framework for what to believe. In many cases, if enough people we trust believe in something, we’re willing to, as well.

The same goes for innovation.

Denise, with Pramesh’s help, recruited a growing number of colleagues to back her efficiency innovation, including those with ties to the unit leaders. This social proof, even in the absence of hard data, helped sway the unit executives, and the firm implemented the idea, driving significant cost-savings from the start.

Solving the politics of innovation can often be as — or more — challenging than formulating the innovation itself. But taking a strategic, step-by-step approach to these dynamics can effectively bridge the often-wide gap between idea and implementation.

Rob Duke's insight:
Step 1: Anticipate Resistance 
Step 2: Unmask Political Motives 
Step 3: Find the Right Champion 
Step 4: Secure Social Proof

This is a lot like Kurt Lewin's Force-Field Analysis (1951):  
1. Loosen organizational bonds that resist change;
2. Look for forces that oppose you: Weaken those;
3. Look for forces that support you: Strengthen these;
4. Move the organization; and
5. Re-freeze the organization.

Also see Bruce Tuckman's Forming; Norming; Storming; Performing; and Adjourning model (1965).
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Privatized Justice: ‘Re-Educating’ the American Shoplifter

Privatized Justice: ‘Re-Educating’ the American Shoplifter | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
As Americans head to stores and malls this holiday season, many retailers have a warning for shoplifters.

If you’re caught, expect to be “sentenced” to a course run by a private company aimed at correcting your behavior–and to pay as much as $500 for the privilege.

Since 2011, large chains such as Walmarts have been contracting out their security to a for-profit corporation, The Corrective Education Company (CEC), which does exactly as its name implies: punish wrongdoers with a mandatory educational program aimed at deterring offenders from repeating their behavior.
Rob Duke's insight:
RJ or just another profit center for the retail giants?
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Devin Ryan Johnson's comment, December 4, 10:08 PM
I see it as a form of RJ. It allows for the shoplifter to keep a clean record as long as they complete the required class.
Rob Duke's comment, December 6, 1:29 PM
Yes, as long as it doesn't become just a "profit-center" for the retailers. I also worry that they may not have folks running the program that are truly looking for restorative outcomes...but, it does look better than the alternative.
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Jesuit priest mediated Mugabe's resignation

Jesuit priest mediated Mugabe's resignation | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
He became lead negotiator because both Mugabe and the military trusted him. The 70-year-old Jesuit priest from Zimbabwe said he's mediated between bitter political rivals in the past.
"I'm a tough nut to crack," he said. "I've done this before."
Mukonori said his strategy was never to argue with Mugabe, but rather to listen and convince Mugabe he could exit the political stage with nobility.
Zimbabwe's society struggled under Mugabe's rule
"He is a debater, he is a thinker, he argues intelligently, he can philosophize," Mukonori said. "It was a question of making President Mugabe see what was happening in the country economically and politically at that time and what was at stake with regard to issues pertaining to the soldiers moving in."
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Fewer Prisoners, Less Crime? The Elusive Promise of Algorithms

Fewer Prisoners, Less Crime? The Elusive Promise of Algorithms | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Early evidence suggests some risk assessment tools offer promise in rationalizing decisions on granting bail without racial bias. But we still need to monitor how judges actually use the algorithms, says a Boston attorney.
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How judges can show respect

How judges can show respect | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
In halls of justice around the world, how can we ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect? A pioneering judge in New Jersey, Victoria Pratt shares her principles of "procedural justice" -- four simple, thoughtful steps that redefined the everyday business of her courtroom in Newark, changing lives along the way. "When the court behaves differently, naturally people respond differently," Pratt says. "We want people to enter our halls of justice ... and know that justice will be served there."
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Fairbanks school district reviews student discipline policies

Fairbanks school district reviews student discipline policies | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
FAIRBANKS —The superintendent of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District said it's time to update student discipline policies.

Karen Gaborik said she wants to spend the next year gathering information and discussing options so new policies can be implemented by fall 2019. She doesn’t know what the end result will look like, she said, but she is open to changing the types of infractions that draw discipline and the consequences that are doled out. 

Focus groups are meeting at the school district administrative center this week to discuss student discipline. A public meeting is 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Lathrop High School library, 901 Airport Way. Eventually, the district will conduct public surveys, Gaborik said. 
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Studies show 'proactive policing' works, but social cost less clear

Studies show 'proactive policing' works, but social cost less clear | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
A sweeping new report surveys what's known about the effectiveness of policing strategies. It's crucial information for cities such as Chicago and Baltimore, as they cope with surging violence.
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Proposed Rollback of Justice Reforms Sparks Debate Over Cause of Crime Spikes

Proposed Rollback of Justice Reforms Sparks Debate Over Cause of Crime Spikes | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
A proposal to roll back California's justice reform measures has foes fighting over the true causes of crime increases in Los Angeles and elsewhere.
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Early results mixed for criminal justice reform effort

Early results mixed for criminal justice reform effort | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
GRAND FORKS — Changes made to North Dakota law this year to reduce incarceration rates and penalties for drug users have resulted in a sharp decline in felony drug possession charges in Grand Forks, but have yet to have a definitive impact on the overall number of felony charges filed.

When House Bill 1041 was signed by Gov. Doug Burgum, laws regarding drug possession became less severe. Possession of any non-marijuana drug went from being a Class C felony to a Class A misdemeanor for first-time offenders. The bill also moved toward sentence reduction and substituting probation for incarceration for low-level offenders without criminal history.


So far, Grand Forks defense attorneys say not much has changed.

"I've seen, at this point, no difference," defense attorney Ted Sandberg said of the new law's impact on the northeast central district court.

The Grand Forks State's Attorney's Office did not file a single Class C felony of a controlled substance charge from August through October this year, according to legal services coordinator Darlene Jensen. The office filed 48 such charges in the same period in 2016.

But overall, felonies in Grand Forks during those three months are up over the same period last year. The State's Attorney's Office filed 142 total felony charges from August through October 2017, up from 117 during that period in 2016.

The Burleigh County State's Attorney's Office filed 50 Class C felony possession of a controlled substance charges from August through October this year. Burleigh prosecutors filed 97 of those charges in the same period of 2016.

That reduction did not, however, lead to a reduction in overall felonies charged. From August through October, Burleigh County filed 303 felonies this year. In 2016, they filed 278 felonies during that three-month period.

Through October, the Burleigh County State's Attorney's Office has filed 1,765 felony charges, putting it on pace to surpass next year.

The Cass County State's Attorney's Office said it could not fulfill an information request, but said its numbers resemble figures seen in Burleigh County in terms of reductions in felony drug possession charges.

Out west, one county is seeing a sharp drop in felonies charged since the new law went into effect.

Ward County filed 80 felony controlled substance possession charges between August and October 2016. This year, under the new law, they've filed just 18. Ward County has seen a large drop in overall felonies since the law changed. From April through October 2017, Ward prosecutors have filed 612 felonies, 180 fewer than the 792 felonies filed during that time in 2016.



Sandberg said reducing first-time drug possession from a felony to misdemeanor is essentially just reducing the charge before a sentence deferment, which is a common outcome in felony possession charges, and that it doesn't affect the most serious drug users.

"Where it is going to make a profound impact, ultimately, is in the lives of the college students," Sandberg said. "Those are the ones who just get hammered, because they make a mistake and get hooked on some kind of pill or drug and it becomes a C felony."

One group who might be feeling the effect is police trying to get information on dealers from drug users.

"I think it's going to have an impact maybe more on law enforcement, and I think they're a bit edgy about it," Sandberg said. "Because when somebody has a felony over their head we can always reduce it down to a misdemeanor in some way shape or form."

Sentencing changes

House Bill 1041 mandated probation over incarceration for Class C felony and Class A misdemeanor charges in cases without aggravating factors and defendants with low criminal history.

But Sandberg said nonviolent felons have not been pushed toward the state prison system in Grand Forks for a long time, and despite some excitement from defense attorneys, the law was largely addressing a problem that didn't exist.

"In North Dakota, I personally thought they were already pushing people toward the probationary route," Sandberg said.

Peter Welte, a lawyer at Vogel Law Firm and former Grand Forks County State's Attorney, said the new law's outcomes will often depend on individual prosecutors.

"The law is a blunt instrument and the prosecutor holds that charging decision in their hands, and it's something that should be considered in a very circumspect way before it's used," Welte said.

Welte said his former office has always been judicious when charging out cases. He thinks some prosecutors may glance at the law when deciding what to charge.

"When something's charged out you try not to be outcome-oriented, but I think what happens with a bill like this is when you're making the charging decision, you can't help but taking a look at 'where is this going to end up, based on the new law?' " he said.

Sandberg said Grand Forks has long been considered a reasonable district by defense attorneys.

"In Grand Forks, the prosecutors, the court and defense attorneys are all independent," Sandberg said.

As far as caseload goes, defense attorneys say they've seen few changes.

"I think we're busier here than we've ever been," Welte said.

A potential tradeoff in the new law's emphasis on sentence reduction is law enforcement seeking new venues to prosecute bigger cases, according to Sandberg.

"I have seen an uptick in people being brought in on federal charges under the idea that 'Maybe we're not going to get as harsh a sentence under state court or we're not going to be able to continue our drug investigation in the state court,' but if there's a federal connection and they can make that connection than they're going to go into the federal system," said Sandberg, who handles cases as a public defender in U.S. District Court.

He thinks the Legislature may end up back at the drawing board next biennium, finding the law hasn't really changed the way justice is administered in North Dakota.

"I don't know that it's anything more than an attempt to reduce costs at the department of corrections," Sandberg said.
Rob Duke's insight:
Re-alignment (euphemism for mass release of prisoners) and CJ reform are incomplete and likely to fail without investment in RJ systems for first-time offenders and re-entry for recidivists....
I just hope in years to come we don't hear "we tried that and it didn't work".  To say we "tried" it should mean that we had the whole package not just the parts that seemed like we would save money on jails.
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J Hovis's comment, November 12, 8:02 PM
Good Article and I wish it had more comparable data. That is, the article featured the overall felony charges filed within a given period, but not the breakdown of specific types or charges or context to understand the numbers given. Stats without proper context may as well be the number of grains of sand in a pile, that’s great – what do we do with that? As Rob states, if RJ processes are meant to be “tried” then we ought to try the whole package. The article references an uptick in charges with a federal connection with the possibility officials are using the federal connection as a workaround or new tactic to get at the same/similar information as before.

The article also does not give any context or history for drug related offenses in the area. Is this of particular concern? Was the law born of necessity to treat a social ill? I do appreciate the reference regarding the impact to college students as first time offenders and the new law offering them a sort of second-chance if they mess up just the once. It should also be stated this could be benefitting the privilege already experienced by those able to pursue college/higher education. Does the law have any impact on citizens in lower socioeconomic classes unable to pursue higher education?
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Not in my backyard: Rand Paul-like neighbor disputes are common

Not in my backyard: Rand Paul-like neighbor disputes are common | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Disputes between neighbors are common, experts say, although they don't usually end in broken ribs.
Rob Duke's insight:
A clear need for neighborhood mediation in every town/city/county.
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When Faced with Conflict, Try an Introspective Approach

When Faced with Conflict, Try an Introspective Approach | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it

I wish he would just get fired.

How is it that rational, good, understanding, kind, collaborative people like you and me can get so triggered by certain colleagues’ work performance that our minds race with how we want them to get out of our lives and work — in any way possible? We come up with long diatribes of the million and one reasons why they need to get their act together — or, better yet, disappear. We don’t care whether they get fired, get a different job, move away, whatever. We just know they’re causing us increased stress, and we want them gone.

But what if the key to being free of this stress isn’t about them at all, but about us?

In my research and experience as a time management coach, and in my work developing my new book, Divine Time Management, I’ve discovered that people often jump to blaming others in conflict. But instead of reducing their stress, having an accusatory mindset toward others only fuels the frustration. To defuse the situation and return to a place of peace, you must first examine your own contribution to the conflict — no matter how small.

I understand that in the heat of the moment this is the last thing you want to do. You feel you’ve been so mistreated and are so offended that it’s extremely hard to see how any of this negative energy you’re experiencing may have anything to do with you. But when we take ownership of our reaction to others’ actions, we can be free to be happy and productive, no matter what they do.

What does this look like in a practical sense? Here are a few tips that can help.

Clarify exactly what happened. When you’re agitated by what someone did or didn’t do — whether your thoughts are racing or you’re even feeling physical tension — there’s most likely something below the surface. Examine the situation that got you so upset and explore the broader context. Ask yourself: Was something else going on in my life that had an impact on how I saw this event? Had something happened previously in this work relationship that affected how I saw this person? Am I tired, stressed, hungry, hot, or in any other way mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically not at my best? Identify any external factors at play, particularly those that might have nothing to do with your counterpart or conflict.

Explore why it triggered you. Your emotional reaction to a situation with someone has more to do with you than with them. In my experience, when I respond in a negative way to someone, it signals my own hurt, insecurity, or fear. For example, if you are feeling confident about the projects you’re working on, your relationships with people at work, and your overall team performance, someone dropping the ball on a few things may slightly annoy you but won’t infuriate you. You’ll simply pull the person aside, talk about what got off track, develop systems to prevent the situation in the future, and monitor the situation from there. But when you’re feeling uncertain about your projects, believe that people think badly of you at work, and are insecure about your team’s performance, one little slipup could send you over the edge. Instead of calmly working with a coworker on improvements, you could end up lashing out at her or going behind her back to try to get rid of the problem. Identify what core insecurity or fear is causing you to respond so critically.

Address your own fears. The only way to be truly free from overwhelming negativity and anger in our relationships — both personally and professionally — is to address our fears. I find that if I’m really upset at someone at work, the first thing I need to do is step back and see if I’m doing my job well. The humbling truth is that I sometimes find that although, yes, there are things I would like the other person to do, there are just as many items that are 100% within my own capacity to do that I’m not doing. When I shift my focus onto what I can do, rather than what my counterpart isn’t contributing, I use my time in a more productive manner. It also helps to acknowledge that, despite how I may feel in the moment, the world will not come to an end, no matter how my colleague behaves. I may want or prefer certain professional outcomes, but I don’t need them for life to be OK.

Communicate with clarity and compassion. If you’ve addressed your own fears and recognize that there are legitimate issues that still need to be addressed, you can do so. But for the best results, focus on compassionate communication. Although you may want to unload on the person about how stressed-out and frustrated they made you, it’s unlikely to help the situation and it may put them on the defensive. Instead, clearly explain what happened, and describe what you would like to see change and why. The why shouldn’t be “Because you made me so mad that I wanted to spit,” but something like “When you turned in this report late, I ended up working until 1 AM and missed my son’s soccer game to meet the client deadline. For us to work together effectively, I need to receive reports on time from you.” Then move on to find a solution: “We’re a team, and I want us to work well together. Can you explain what happened, so we can work together on preventing this situation from happening in the future?”

Will pointing the finger at yourself miraculously change your coworker into a paragon of productivity and alleviate any future conflict? Maybe yes, maybe no. I’ve had times when the people I work with do change their approach, and other times when it’s become clear that they’re not the right fit for the job and need to move on. But if you follow the steps above, I can guarantee that, even if you don’t like another person’s behavior, you can be released from the negative emotional charge around it.

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Samara Taber's comment, November 12, 9:06 PM
I found this article really affirming, as I work in a large interconnected team, where I am often helping to mediate small conflicts. I shared this article with a colleague and I hope we can discuss it in our next meeting.
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U.S. Crime Rate is Stable, Victimization Survey Says

U.S. Crime Rate is Stable, Victimization Survey Says | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The national crime rate last year remained about the same as the 2015 total, the U.S. Justice Department's National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) reported Thursday. Residents aged 12 or older experienced 5.7 million violent victimizations, a rate of 21.1 per 1,000 persons in 2016.
Rob Duke's insight:
Official rates might be up, but victims are still reporting about the same amount of crime.
Do official rates reflect some bias in the system?  One way this might be the case is in how crimes are classified.  Thus, a minor assault might be classified as an aggravated one.
Conversely, victims might be reporting erroneously.  How many times have you heard someone say: "I've been robbed!" only to find out that someone stole something from them, but it was hardly a robbery (using force or fear).
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California High Court Upholds State-Mandated Mediation for Farmworkers

The California Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to the nation’s most recognizable agricultural labor unions, unanimously overturning an appellate ruling that state-mandated contract mediati…
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As More and More Prisons Shutter, Governments Wonder What to Do With Them

As More and More Prisons Shutter, Governments Wonder What to Do With Them | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Distilleries? Homeless shelters? Museums? There are lots of creative ideas for repurposing old lockups. But finding one that's good for the economy -- and wins approval -- isn't easy.
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Devin Ryan Johnson's comment, December 4, 10:07 PM
I think the best thing to do with them is to turn them into a homeless shelter. It will help provide a safe place for the homeless to lay their head and clean up.
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The Workplace Culture In Congress Fuels Sexual Harassment

The Workplace Culture In Congress Fuels Sexual Harassment | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The wave of sexual harassment allegations that has rippled across industries — implicating Hollywood producers and stars, chefs, Olympic coaches and officials,…
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The ugly side of ADR is that it can be used inappropriately.  In the case here, Congress continues to be a cesspool of sexual harassment because they use ADR to discourage reports.  The victim is forced to go through 2 months of counseling, then work with a mediator before they can file a formal complaint.
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Does Evidence Matter in Justice Policymaking?

Does Evidence Matter in Justice Policymaking? | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
For two decades, criminal justice advocates have been promoting the idea of basing anticrime policy on scientific evidence. But is anyone listening? Leading criminologists address the question at a Philadelphia conference.
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How Egos Distort the Way We See Each Other

How Egos Distort the Way We See Each Other | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
We don't come across as we think we do — and we're not as good judges of others as we assume, either.
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California gunman's dispute with neighbor may have sparked rampage

California gunman's dispute with neighbor may have sparked rampage | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The motive behind a shooting rampage Tuesday in Northern California remains unclear, but authorities say a dispute with a neighbor may have led the gunman to carry out his deadly outburst.
Rob Duke's insight:
I can't tell you how many times I hear that a civil problem (that we're not empowered to handle as police) has later turned into a homicide.
Too bad departments won't institutionalize the ability for their officers to mediate disputes like this....
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A Better Man’s Attiya Khan on Why She Confronted Her Longtime Abuser on Camera

A Better Man’s Attiya Khan on Why She Confronted Her Longtime Abuser on Camera | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Khan sat down with her ex-boyfriend Steve, who’d abused her for years, to ask him why he’d done it — and see if it could help both of them heal.
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Ventura County Project to Support Reentry Launched to Reduce Recidivism, Improve Public Safety, and Promote Family StabilityCutting-edge Pay for Success partnership is part of a broader initiative...

Ventura County Project to Support Reentry Launched to Reduce Recidivism, Improve Public Safety, and Promote Family StabilityCutting-edge Pay for Success partnership is part of a broader initiative... | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Boston, MA, Nov. 06, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the Ventura County Executive Office, alongside the Ventura County Probation Agency, Interfac
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30,000 California prison inmates could be safely released, says report

30,000 California prison inmates could be safely released, says report | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The report by a leading criminal justice reform group says despite great strides in reducing the inmate population, California can do much more.
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Plea bargains save time and money but are too easily abused

Plea bargains save time and money but are too easily abused | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it

Nov 9th 2017
THE elements that make up a criminal-justice system are familiar from a thousand courtroom dramas. Detectives interview witnesses and examine crime scenes. Forensic scientists coax secrets from bloodstains and cigarette ash. Judges and juries weigh the facts and pronounce on guilt and innocence.

But in many countries, behind this system lies a quicker, rougher one. It is plea-bargaining, in which prosecutors press lesser charges or ask for a lighter sentence in return for a defendant pleading guilty or incriminating others. Long crucial to the operation of American justice, this shadow system is now going global (see article). One study of 90 countries found that just 19 permitted plea bargains in 1990. Now 66 do. In many countries, including England and Australia, pleas now account for a majority of guilty verdicts. In American federal courts the share is close to 100%.

The result sometimes bears only a passing resemblance to justice. Prosecutors may heap charge upon charge so that defendants risk decades behind bars if they decide to face trial. Even when cases are flimsy, defendants may see little option but to plead guilty. A defence lawyer who offers a witness $1 to exonerate his client commits bribery. A prosecutor who threatens the same witness with prison if he does not give damning evidence is just doing his job. Is that fair?

The fiction behind plea-bargaining is that innocent people will stand fast and trust the courts to exonerate them. The truth is that many will not. Of the Americans convicted of rape or murder and later cleared, a sizeable share had pleaded guilty. Pre-trial detention increases the risk: people may say anything to get out of jail. Studies by psychologists have shown that students will confess to academic transgressions they did not commit to avoid even minor penalties.

Plea-bargaining is too useful to be abandoned. With no incentive to plead guilty, even criminals caught red-handed would opt for a trial, since a tiny chance of getting off is better than none. Justice would be slower and pricier. More victims would have to relive their trauma in the witness box. And it would remove an important weapon in the fight against organised crime, namely the ability to reward minor figures for helping to take down kingpins. But if plea bargains are to serve justice, not subvert it, they must be subject to clear constraints.

To start with only modest incentives should be offered. Small reductions in sentences are enough to induce guilty defendants to waive trial. But as discounts become more generous, false confessions become more common. And incentives for incriminating others should come with strict conditions. Brazil shows the way. Its recent extension of plea-bargaining has enabled prosecutors to go after corrupt politicians. But it guards against perjury by requiring supporting evidence for statements incriminating others and by making it clear that if a defendant is caught in a lie, the deal is off.

A plea for common sense
Above all, plea bargains must not be allowed to warp criminal-justice systems. In countries such as America where prosecutors have broad leeway, crimes are often loosely defined and sentences harsh. This is no accident: these are the tools used to browbeat defendants into guilty pleas. When few cases are tested in trials, police may become sloppy, lawyers lazy and judges capricious. When the innocent are bullied into trading away their day in court, justice is weakened for everyone.

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J Hovis's comment, November 12, 8:17 PM
The sentence “But as discounts become more generous, false confessions become more common” stuck with me as we see this concept portrayed in multiple forms of media from The Handmaid’s Tale, account of the Salem Witch Trials, to exposes on false and coerced confessions. The article references more victims reliving their experience in witness boxes, but doesn’t infer or state how many victims are content with the plea agreements. A concept covered earlier in our course discusses the vertical justice system as not working for the victim, rather working for the social good or conscious. I can barely conceive of a vertical justice process where the victim would hold an equal, or near equal, position of bargaining and negotiation as the prosecutor.

I also have a concern for the RJ process wherein the admission of culpability by the offender is so very important; coerced or forced confessions and plea deals threaten the nature of the RJ process by potentially submitting innocent/non-entirely guilty parties to process – this would do a grave disservice to the victim, with whom the RJ process is focused on, by completely providing the wrong party for reconciliation.
Dorothy Retha Cook 's curator insight, November 13, 8:00 AM

And not all can afford them.

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A Mass. model for national criminal justice reform - The Boston Globe

The state Senate passed a sweeping criminal justice reform package last week that could be a national model for preserving public safety while curbing some of the excesses of an overly punitive system.

It’s a significant effort at rational public policy-making at a time when chaos and misrule seem to dominate Washington.

House lawmakers, poised to take their own once-in-a-generation swipe at an overhaul, and the governor, weighing what legislation he would or wouldn’t sign, would be wise to follow the Senate’s lead.

The legislation, steered by state Senator William Brownsberger of Belmont, a former prosecutor and one-time defense counsel for indigent clients, takes a thoughtful approach to a whole host of issues.

Start with mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. Ideally, Massachusetts would get rid of them altogether. Real justice is individualized justice, with judges empowered to decide what sort of punishment is appropriate in any given case.

In harsh letter, DAs pan Senate’s criminal justice proposal
The missive also marks a break among the top prosecutors, with the signatures of two key DAs notably absent from the letter.

But prosecutors are fiercely opposed to repeal. And wholesale scrapping of mandatory penalties for high-level heroin dealers in the midst of an opioid epidemic would be a tough sell. The Senate legislation is instead an exercise in the art of the possible — keeping mandatory minimums in place for large-scale traffickers of heroin and other drugs, while repealing them for lower-level dealers, many of them addicts themselves.

Of course, even a conviction that comes with a shorter sentence can have serious long-term consequences — making it harder to get a job upon release from prison and increasing the odds of recidivism. The Senate bill recognizes that reality and makes it easier for the courts to divert more low-level offenders out of the criminal justice system and into drug treatment and other kinds of programs.

Another provision would raise the cut-off for the juvenile justice system from the 18th to 19th birthday, adding 18-year-olds to the juvenile system. Kids that age aren’t full-fledged adults, as any parent can attest; indeed, neuroscience studies have found that the human brain is still maturing into the mid-20s. More young offenders should be able to benefit from the protections and rehabilitative services of what is considered one of the best juvenile systems in the country.

It’s not just compassionate, it’s also smart: Research suggests young people who serve in a juvenile system are less likely to backslide and return to crime than those who serve in an adult system, where they are exposed to seasoned criminals.

The Senate legislation does a lot of other smart things, big and small. It gives inmates in solitary confinement better access to programming, for instance, and periodic reviews to see if they’re ready to return to the general population. It also allows people who have fallen behind on parking tickets to get on payment plans so they’re less likely to have their driver’s licenses suspended — and lose their ability to get to work.

The state’s district attorneys support some of the small-bore changes in the Senate package. But most — though notably, not all — have declared their opposition to major parts of the legislation. Just before the vote, several signed a letter raising the specter of a surge in violent crime and an exodus of businesses and jobs from hard-hit urban areas if the bill passes.

That’s alarmist. There is no evidence that the reforms contemplated by the Senate would lead to that kind of ruin. And they’re not nearly as radical as the prosecutors suggest. The Senate bill would eliminate some, but not all, mandatory minimum sentences and raise the age for the juvenile justice system by a single year.

It’s significant reform, but it’s considered. With a historic opportunity to improve the criminal justice system, the Senate rose to the occasion. The House should follow.

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J Hovis's comment, November 12, 8:24 PM
Wow.

So much in such a small article.

The potential of allowing 18 year olds to be prosecuted in juvenile court is, I feel, a step in the right direction. As the article states “Real justice is individualized justice, with judges empowered to decide what sort of punishment is appropriate in any given case.” As a society we recognize extenuating circumstances with all manners of crime, it would seem so to a rational allowance to consider additional circumstances in regard to age and individual case of offenders. Has anyone seen the mockumentary American Vandal on Netflix? There is a good discussion hidden in that show in regards to juvenile and adult offenders.

I also have a concern in regards to individualized justice, although the concept is great, I feel there would be a need for oversight to ensure defendants were treated equally without regard to such modifiers as class, religion, race, ethnicity, gender and other protected classes – as well as those groups of citizens we know to be at risk, but not belonging to a protected class, such as the homeless and LGBTQ (depending on the state).