Restorative Justice Restorative Justice repairs the harm caused when a crime is committed. community-centeredjustice peoplerelationships law It is a community-centered approach to justice which views crime as a violation of people and relationships, rather than simply a violation of law. victim’s needs offender’s responsibility repair healing Restorative Justice focuses on the victim’s needs and the offender’s responsibility to repair harm and foster healing.
Restorative Justice in Action In Pursuit of Paradigm: A Theory of Restorative Justice, by Ted Wachtel, President, International Institute for Restorative Practices, & Paul McCold, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Old Dominion University.
The difference between Criminal Justice and Restorative Justice: Criminal Justice Crime is a violation of the law and the state Violations create guilt Justice requires the state to determine blame (guilt) and impose pain (punishment) Central focus: offenders getting what they "deserve" Restorative Justice Crime is a violation of people and relationships Violations create obligations Justice involves victims, offenders and community members in an effort to put things right Central focus: victim needs and offender responsibility for repairing harm From http://www.victimsvoicesheard.org/restorative-justice.htmlhttp://www.victimsvoicesheard.org/restorative-justice.html
Brief History of Criminal Justice in the U.S. Late 1700s to the 20 th Century (pp. 3-15) * 1700s: violent crime was rare punish 1800s: first prisons designed to punish – overcrowding, disease, violence retribution and deterrence 1900s: brutality continued with emphasis on retribution and deterrence “New penology” “New penology” movement 1960s to 1980s (pp. 18-25) * 1960s to 1980s (pp. 18-25) * 1960s-70s: soaring crime rates among baby boomers war on crime Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on crime Increased violence penology reverted to retribution Increased violence and riots in prisons → penology reverted to retribution Mandatory prison sentences *Summarized from Kirk Blackard, Love in a Caldron of Misery: Perspectives on Christian Prison Ministry, IPF & Stock, Eugene, OR: 2012, Part I—Prisons. 1980s to 2000s (pp. 26-37) * rth of private prison industry 1984: birth of private prison industry privately owned 1995: nearly all new prisons were privately owned $70 billion 2006: cost of penal system totaled $70 billion
Statistics Tell the Story of Criminal Justice Today 2.2 million people 500% increase The U.S. is the world’s leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation’s prisons or jails – a 500% increase over the past 30 years. – Ryan S. King et al, The Sentencing Project, Washington, DC: 20005: www.sentencingproject.org, p. 1.www.sentencingproject.org The more people behind bars, and the longer they stay there, the more money that private, for-profit prison companies make. – Cf. The Public Campaign (http://www.publicampaign.org/) and the Center for Responsive Politics (http://centerforresponsivepolitics.net/).http://www.publicampaign.org/http://centerforresponsivepolitics.net/ 1925 1984 2010
drug charge At the federal level, prisoners incarcerated on a drug charge comprise half of the prison population, while the number of drug offenders in state prisons has increased thirteen-fold since 1980. – The Sentencing Project, “A 25-Year Quagmire: The War on Drugs and Its Impact on American Society,” 2007: http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/dp_25yearquagmire.pdf http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/dp_25yearquagmire.pdf During 2011… Blacks and Hispanics were imprisoned at higher rates than whites in all age groups for both male and female inmates. Among prisoners ages 18 to 19, black males were imprisoned at more than 9 times the rate of white males. - U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Prisoners in 2011,” 2012: http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p11.pdf http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p11.pdf Children of prisoners are likely to be imprisoned themselves 3.6% of all children, more than 2.7 million, have a parent in a US prison. Children of prisoners are likely to be imprisoned themselves. – Pew Charitable Trusts, “Collateral Costs of Incarceration,” 2010: http://www.pewtrusts.org/http://www.pewtrusts.org/ Statistics Tell the Story of Criminal Justice Today
A Catholic Perspective restorative justice “Pastoral workers have the task of studying and recommending restorative justice as a means and a process for promoting reconciliation, justice, and peace, and the return of victims and offenders to the community.” – Benedict XVI, Benin to Community of Sant’Egidio, November 19, 2011 Genesis 4: 1-15 – Cain kills Abel, yet God does not kill Cain. Rather, God sends him away with a mark so that others also would not kill him. God’s punishment of Cain is exile, not vengeance. Pope John Paul II meets with Mehmet Ali Ağca
A Catholic Perspective “We believe that both victims and the offenders are children of God. Despite their very different claims on society, their lives and dignity should be respected. We seek justice, not vengeance. We believe punishment must have clear purposes: protecting society and rehabilitating those who violate the law.” –U.S. Bishops in Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice, USCCB: Washington, DC, 2000, p. 16. John 8 – “ Let anyone among you who is without sin the be the first to throw a stone at her.” Matthew 18 –“ Which of these three, do you think was a neighbor to the man...?’’ He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
What You Can Do: Learn More Recommended Reading: Love in a Cauldron of Misery: Perspectives on Christian Prison Ministry by Kirk Blackard. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2012. Love in a Cauldron of Misery: Perspectives on Christian Prison Ministry by Kirk Blackard. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2012. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. New York: New Press, 2012. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. New York: New Press, 2012. The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr. Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2002. The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr. Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2002. The Little Book of Circle Processes by Kay Pranis. Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2005. http://www.iwanttoserve.org/ http://www.restorativejustice.org/
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O God, your love is unconditional and not based on performance. It is patient, kind, forgiving, and unchanging, even when we behave unacceptably. Real love must give and serve Agape. Help us respond to this higher calling by serving one another despite conflicts or bad behavior and remain open to the hope of peaceful co-existence. O God, the great German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, said it best: “I want to unfold. Let no place in me hold itself closed. For where I am closed I am false. I want to stay clear in your sight.” Amen. --Adapted from an essay by Marcus Wellons, co-editor, Compassion Newsletter, Georgia Death Row, Jackson, GA. January 2013 Issue: www.Compassionondeathrow.netwww.Compassionondeathrow.net Closing Reflections
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