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1 INDEPENDENT ACADEMIC RESEARCH STUDIES RESTORATIVE JUSTICE & STREET GROUP VIOLENCE 2012 BRUCE AND LIS WELCH COMMUNITY DIALOGUE 8 May 2012, Vancouver Dr. Theo Gavrielides Giving everyone a chance to forge a safer, better & more inclusive society

2 Starting from the end Is restorative justice possible with riots? “Yes” … but... This “but’ is not one coming from a politician, but from a researcher. Three more words: complex / evidence-base/ real “The focus of researchers should not be on the superiority of restorative justice, but on the development of its processes and principles”. 01

3 Summary Impetus for our project Project aims & partners Project methodology Summer 2011 Defining “street group violence” Restorative justice – attempting to understand 7 case studies Key findings & a model for piloting 02

4 Why are we here? Four reasons! 1.June 2011 riots Directly or indirectly affected Researchers, policy-makers, practitioners or just concerned citizens Frustration & strong emotions Still looking for justice 1.August 2011 riots What happened and what are we doing about it? Are communities and victims being restored? Are we also still looking for justice? Is the grass always greener? 03

5 Why are we here? Four reasons! 3.Legislative & Policy backdrop British Columbia Feb 2012 Green Paper “Modernising BC Justice System” “Our reform initiative will identify long-term, fiscally responsible solutions that improve outcomes and accountability”, BC Premier Christy Clark UK Dec 2010 Green Paper “Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders” “Our emphasis on greater use of restorative justice as long as it is used appropriately, interventions are of sufficiently high quality and there are sufficient safeguards in place for victims”. 4.Restorative justice Advocate – Adversary – Skeptic 04

6 Project Aim & Partners Aim: to examine the potential of restorative justice with street group violence (e.g. riots). Partners: IARS: a UK-based international think-tank with a charitable mission to give everyone a chance to build a safer, fairer and more inclusive society. We do this by producing evidence-based solutions to current social problems, sharing best practice and by supporting young people to shape decision making. CRJ: based at SFU, the Centre works in partnership with the community and the justice system to promote the practices and values of RJ Next steps: Full report, pilots? more partners? 05

7 Project Methodology 06

8 Summer 2011 - Vancouver 299 criminal incidents 43 assaults, 140 injured 89 business affected 113 vehicles damaged Total cost $5 million CAD A further $9 million CAD for investigation 5,500 hours of video footage 65,000 tagged people TOTAL: 508 charges (225 approved) TOTAL: 1 sentenced (stats from Integr. Riot Invest. Team, VPBoard April 2012) 07

9 Summer 2011 - England Started in London – shooting (29 yr old) 12 London areas & 66 England locations Five continuous days 15,000 actively involved 5 people died In London 2,175 reported injuries Hundreds lost homes & businesses In London 171 residential and 100 commercial building affected In London 3,800 claims £1 billion cost Total: 4,000 arrests 1,984 appeared in court 31% received outcome 53% custodial, 36% non-custodial, 11% acquitted (Oct 2011) 08

10 Understanding Street Group Violence Attempting to understand the events UK: Independent Riots Communities & Victims Panel (Nov 2011 interim report and March 2012 final report) BC: Independent review (Furlong & Keefe, August 2011). Defining street group violence The intentional use of force or power, threatened or actual by groups of individuals (or by states) within public spaces Reasons for “group violence”: social agenda, political violence, economic violence Extant literature (psychology, sociology, criminology, economics). 09

11 Understanding Street Group Violence Defining factor: It is distinguished from violence that occurs between individuals (inter-personal) who do not act as part of, or on behalf of, particular groups. It is different from a collection of acts of individual violence. I have been involved in most of the most serious riots professionally from the late 60s to the late 80s. The one striking factor I have noticed is that there is a moment when the crowd of individuals, often individually violent or threatening, does change to a riotous mob with an almost concerted joint action and a loss of individual choice or control. What is the difference between multiple violent events and the riot phenomenon? When do group dynamics take over and overpower individual control? Or is the group dynamic just an opportunity to allow our baser instincts to have free play, and therefore worthy of harsher penalties? When does individual responsibility begin and end? (Interviewed practitioner) 10

12 What is restorative justice? Restorative Justice is “an ethos with practical goals, among which is to restore harm by including affected parties in a (direct or indirect) encounter and a process of understanding through voluntary and honest dialogue” (Gavrielides 2007: 139). Restorative Justice Practices: Mediation (direct-indirect) Family Group Conferencing Healing & Sentencing Circles Community Restorative Boards Canada: Criminal Code ss.718, R v. Gladue and R. v. Proulx cases “Restoring harmony involves determining sentences that respond to the needs of the victim, the community, and the offender” (judge in Proulx case), Youth Criminal Justice Act 11

13 Cost-benefit analysis “RJ can deliver cost savings of up to £9 for every £1 spent” (Shapland et al 2008). “If RJ were offered to all victims of burglary, robbery and violence against the person where the offender had pleaded guilty (which would amount to around 75,000 victims), the cost savings to the criminal justice system - as a result of a reduction in reconviction rates - would amount to at least £185 million over two years” (Victim Support/ RJC 2010) “RJ practices would likely lead to a net benefit of over £1billion over ten years” (Matrix Evidence 2009). In the UK, according to the 2010 House of Commons cross party Justice Committee, in 2007-8 the average cost of a prison place for one adult was £39,000 per year. Jailing one young offender costs as much as £140,000 per year. 12

14 Understanding restorative justice Extant literature on: The history of restorative justice (rooted in ancient traditions such as the Greek and Roman civilisations, aboriginal and tribal justice) (e.g. see Gavrielides 2011; 2012) The philosophy of restorative justice (e.g. see Gavrielides 2005) The relationship of restorative justice, the rule of law and human rights especially within the context of constitutional democracy (e.g. see Gavrielides 2012) Definitional ambiguity and tensions within the restorative justice movement (e.g. Gavrielides 2008). It exists: Within and outside of the criminal justice system For public and private law disputes (neighbourhood and family conflicts, schools, workplace). 13

15 Understanding restorative justice Violence: inter-personal, group and self-violence Restorative justice best with inter-personal violence Group violence in the form of war and genocide (Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, FY, Cambodia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, South Africa). First RJ case in Elmira, Ontario in 1974 – two young offenders vandalised 22 properties (Mark Yantzi) Key principles underlying the restorative justice ethos: Offender (individual) responsibility Victim empowerment and reparation Communities of care and trust Voluntariness and informed choice Future focused (healing and restoration to the degree possible) Return “conflicts and property” to individuals and communities Sees crime as a “wound in human relationships” 14

16 How about group violence? Case studies 1.From England (Greater Manchester Probation) is being offered through the criminal justice system to both adults and juveniles convicted (less 12 mnts) of riot related offences (post conviction) 2.Two examples from England offered as part of the youth justice system (post conviction/ sentencing) 3.Example from England identified within the community and was the outcome of a multi-agency, cross-sector partnership 4.Example of a restorative justice based intervention that was placed within India’s civil society (Gujarat project) 5.No actual case study in Vancouver – RJ based circle, Christ Church Cathedral, VARJ – SFU – Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association 6.No actual case study in Greece – however example of an ad hoc restorative outcome, the case of Kypreos. 15

17 Key findings 1 st Concerns around the factors that drive criminal justice reform. As the world economic downturn is impacting on criminal justice policy and practice, the need for an evidence-based approach is apparent. In going forward with RJ and street group violence, concrete pilots will need to be run before any safe claims can be made. 2 nd Maintaining the ethos of restorative justice: Concern that principles are being watered down to fit in with funding restrictions 3 rd Claims that restorative justice is cheaper must be balanced against the scant available data. Restorative justice has to convince on two fronts. First, it must show that it provides better justice for the parties involved. Second, that while doing so, it places public protection at the heart of its practices. High profile cases highlighting failures and the exposition of victims and communities to re-victimisation will quickly result in investment decrease. 16

18 Framework for pilots 17

19 Key findings 4 th What do victims want? Victims not as punitive as originally thought (Sherman & Strang 2007), even in most complex crimes such as hate crime (Gavrielides 2012): 75-90% victim willingness to meet (65-79% for offenders) and 70-95 % victim satisfaction How about with riots? ICM 2011 poll 94% of 1000 want RJ 18

20 Key findings 5 th Robust evaluation: in-built and includes outcomes, processes and other targets. Disengage with media and political agendas. 6 th Working together: researchers, practitioners and policy makers. 7 th Innovative justice is not cheap justice: the role of the community sector and the need for long term investment. 8 th The role of the user in shaping criminal justice policy and practice. 9 th The world economic crisis creates a positive climate for restorative justice (see developments in the UK and Europe). Opportune times change – ask why bring RJ back to the table. 19

21 Key findings 10 th Achieving & prioritising restorative outcomes: Enough RJ rhetoric! Making RJ concrete and a “real entity” vs. a “fictitious entity” “If the fictitious entities we use cannot be so translated, then they have no real meaning and operate as confusions and mysteries behind which sinister interests operate to their own advantages”, John S. Mill 20

22 Contact details Dr. Theo Gavrielides Founder & Director, IARS 159 Clapham Road, London SW9 0PU, UK. +44 (0)20 7820 0945@TGavrielides @_IARS_ Dr. Gavrielides is also a Visiting Professorial Research Fellow at Panteion University, a Visiting Professor at Buckinghamshire New University, a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Open University and a Visiting Scholar at Mount Royal University 21


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