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  1. #1
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Default Restorative Justice

    My priest was recently talking to me about her interest in the concept of restorative justice, which I understand has some similarities and roots in the Family Group Conferencing that is common in New Zealand. Here's a description from the wiki page:

    Restorative justice (also sometimes called reparative justice[1]) is an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of the victims and the offenders, as well as the involved community, instead of satisfying abstract legal principles or punishing the offender. Victims take an active role in the process, while offenders are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions, "to repair the harm they've done—by apologizing, returning stolen money, or community service".[2] Restorative justice involves both victim and offender and focuses on their personal needs. In addition, it provides help for the offender in order to avoid future offences. It is based on a theory of justice that considers crime and wrongdoing to be an offence against an individual or community, rather than the state.[3] Restorative justice that fosters dialogue between victim and offender shows the highest rates of victim satisfaction and offender accountability.[4]
    I find this to be a pretty compelling model for justice-making, especially compared to the prison industrial complex that we've got going on now. I'm curious about what others think of it (reading through the wiki page might be worth your time if this snippet doesn't do it for you).

    I wonder...

    When and in what contexts is this likely to work best?
    When and in what contexts is this likely to fail?
    What cultural beliefs have to be present in order for this to work?
    Are there crimes for which this model would be more or less appropriate?



    Have at it!
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  2. #2
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    The difference between crimes against the 'state' and crimes against the 'community' seems rather indistinct. It seems like it might be worth experimentation for many non-violent* crimes, though-I'll check the Wikipedia page when I have the time.

    *I'm referring to non-violent crimes that should actually remain illegal, not soft drug use....though it could be used for that, in places where the public is unwilling to take steps toward legalization.

  3. #3
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    There is no crime where this cannot be applied. I bet you have a good research paper on your hands.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    My priest was recently talking to me about her interest in the concept of restorative justice
    WTF did I just read?

  5. #5
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    that actually sounds like a great idea.
    "I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine. "
    -Bruce Lee

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    If this could lead to the decapitation of the heads of large, failed corporations, I'm all for it.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  7. #7
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Just kidding/anyway.

    I've experience of both family group conferencing and restorative justice, they arent the same, in fact they're very different and serve different purposes.

    In family group conferences generally families are called together to address some identified needs or problems themselves, presenting a formalised plan which can be tested or reviewed by themselves but more frequently by the authorities too, its been embraced in the UK both in principle and for reasons of resources to enliste informal or familial intervention as an alternative in the first instance to state intervention and professionals. So it can be a recognition among family members that ol' joe and josephine are a pair of ol' soaks who shouldnt have had children and uncle bob is gonna look after the kids rather than social services and foster care/residential units take the decision out of everyones hands. Not really something to get excited about, in fact just the order of things in societies whose norms havent been eroded away into nothing by capitalism and myriad competiting pressures.

    Restorative justice is not something to get excited about, its a criminal, usually a young person, taking the life line thrown them by probation or social services to do the bare minimum of an agreed youth diversionary plan to avoid court, criminal proceedings or custody. I've been to a couple of these to talk to kids about how they've assaulted me or felt comfortable enough with physically confronting, threatening or otherwise abusing me and wrecking where they've been living with a bunch of peers. In all the cases I was at it might've been a better idea than the same kids getting sent to custody, no, in fact for them it was a great idea, they'd meet harder cases in custody who'd have just spent all day kicking their ass because they couldnt behave themselves. In most cases it just postponed their stays in custody for a bit. Sorry but the system is not nearly performing as everyone, myself included, would hope it to. In any case its highly dubious that any of the young people involved in these meetings have been genuinely remorseful or regretful and the troubled states I've witnessed some of them experience I'd attribute to feeling they were caught like a rat in a trap and once again in a position of vague angry, indignation.

    Talk about prison-industrial complexes just make me laugh, its the latest vogue in trendy lefty lingo, the right has its equivalent in the paleo-conservative attacks on the welfare-warfare state or general conservative attatck on the "social-industrial complex", at least as worthy a critique as the equivalent.

    If someone devises some magic means of teaching people consequential thinking I'd love to hear it. For most people knowing the law and expecting the penalities is enough of a deterence. How many second chances do you extend to someone before its a pain and simple case of "everything you're about to receive, is your doing, your doing alone, no one elses doing, perfectly avoidable by you and a natural and logical consequence of the choices you made".

  8. #8
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    If this could lead to the decapitation of the heads of large, failed corporations, I'm all for it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    WTF did I just read?
    Oh hai, welcome to the world since the 70s in the Episcopal Church.
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Just kidding/anyway.

    I've experience of both family group conferencing and restorative justice, they arent the same, in fact they're very different and serve different purposes.

    In family group conferences generally families are called together to address some identified needs or problems themselves, presenting a formalised plan which can be tested or reviewed by themselves but more frequently by the authorities too, its been embraced in the UK both in principle and for reasons of resources to enliste informal or familial intervention as an alternative in the first instance to state intervention and professionals. So it can be a recognition among family members that ol' joe and josephine are a pair of ol' soaks who shouldnt have had children and uncle bob is gonna look after the kids rather than social services and foster care/residential units take the decision out of everyones hands. Not really something to get excited about, in fact just the order of things in societies whose norms havent been eroded away into nothing by capitalism and myriad competiting pressures.
    I would agree that it isn't "really something to get excited about" except that our communities/families in the US don't generally work this way anymore. The community (and the smallest community, the family) is not as often valued as a deciding unit--something I think we can blame both the right and the left in politics on--and so any kind of empowerment (not the best word--the community should always already have the power, and it shouldn't be given by anyone, but that's not where we are right now) for communities and families I think is very exciting.

    Restorative justice is not something to get excited about, its a criminal, usually a young person, taking the life line thrown them by probation or social services to do the bare minimum of an agreed youth diversionary plan to avoid court, criminal proceedings or custody. I've been to a couple of these to talk to kids about how they've assaulted me or felt comfortable enough with physically confronting, threatening or otherwise abusing me and wrecking where they've been living with a bunch of peers. In all the cases I was at it might've been a better idea than the same kids getting sent to custody, no, in fact for them it was a great idea, they'd meet harder cases in custody who'd have just spent all day kicking their ass because they couldnt behave themselves. In most cases it just postponed their stays in custody for a bit. Sorry but the system is not nearly performing as everyone, myself included, would hope it to. In any case its highly dubious that any of the young people involved in these meetings have been genuinely remorseful or regretful and the troubled states I've witnessed some of them experience I'd attribute to feeling they were caught like a rat in a trap and once again in a position of vague angry, indignation.
    I am sure it doesn't work perfectly, but I wonder if, in the absence of a powerful community and the relationships that are developed therein, restorative justice is not as likely to work well because a youth (since you're right--typically restorative justice involves young people who have committed offenses) doesn't feel any more responsible to his or her community than he or she does his "state." If a community had more of a "tribal" kind of feel (not necessarily tribal, but extended family), I wonder if it would work better.

    Talk about prison-industrial complexes just make me laugh, its the latest vogue in trendy lefty lingo, the right has its equivalent in the paleo-conservative attacks on the welfare-warfare state or general conservative attatck on the "social-industrial complex", at least as worthy a critique as the equivalent.
    What? It's a fact that more and more prisons are privately owned and operated in the United States. And it is also a fact that those owners have particular political interests. I judge that as problematic (and I judge some other cultural status quo items as problematic too, including some aspects of the "social industrial complex"--obviously I have a bias towards small communities making a lot of decisions for themselves, for example).

    If someone devises some magic means of teaching people consequential thinking I'd love to hear it. For most people knowing the law and expecting the penalities is enough of a deterence. How many second chances do you extend to someone before its a pain and simple case of "everything you're about to receive, is your doing, your doing alone, no one elses doing, perfectly avoidable by you and a natural and logical consequence of the choices you made".
    Yeah. Again, I wonder if it isn't necessarily that there need only be "consequential thinking" (although I agree that YES, OBVIOUSLY CONSEQUENTIAL THINKING IS GOOD) but that there needs to be a cultural foundation of responsibility to (and moreover, significance in) one's community, which I think is pretty lacking in American culture (especially youth culture).
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

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