This video playlist is a good companion to this article:
"There are many restorative justice systems. The one I've been studying is Restorative Circles (RC), a system developed by Dominic Barter in the shanty towns of urban Brazil and now spreading across the world as a means of promoting and facilitating social justice, group cohesion, resilient relationships and personal healing.
Restorative Circles provide a way for individuals and communities to handle conflicts, including racial conflicts, compassionately rather than punitively, as well as to heal and learn from these conflicts. These days when I say I want justice, this is the kind of justice system I have in mind -- a system that values everyone's needs and is designed to address those needs without either blame or compromise1.
"The healing process is a long and involved one. I think that Umuvumu Tree Project has helped in that process in several ways. First, it has contributed to the offenders’ willingness to admit what they have done, to answer questions, and to apologize deeply. Second, it has reminded people of the importance of forgiveness in this process. The forgiveness I speak of is not simply offered by victims of the genocide toward the perpetrators. The cycle of violence between members of both Hutus and Tutsis has gone back many years, and they are reinforced by accounts of atrocities in the past that may or may not have happened. It is why we helped the prisoners understand that forgiveness was important for them to consider, since most of them considered themselves victims in some ways. Third, prisoners have wanted to do something tangible to demonstrate their desire to make amends. In a number of places they have done this by working at no cost to build homes for survivors.
"Peter Woolf was a prolific offender, ensconced in a world of violence and depravity, who, by his own reckoning committed about 20000 crimes. Then he burgled a house, fought with his victim and ended up in prison yet again. This time though it was different. Peter met with his victim, Will, in a restorative justice session that took place in the prison. The meeting changed both their lives for ever. Peter and Will tell their stories in this film which coincides with the launch of Peter’s book, The Damage Done published by Bantum Press and the launch of Why me? founded by Will, a campaign group set up by and for victims of crime who have benefited from restorative justice and want others to be able to benefit from the same opportunity."
For the video, see: http://rice.1x.net/?p=29718
Last night we had the conference dinner. It was held at the Melbourne Aquarium on the Yarra River in central Melbourne. On one side we could see the river and on the other a large aquarium full of beautiful fish. At least we were not located near a shark tank! The President of the Court of Appeal of Victoria gave an interesting and entertaining after dinner speech, talking, amongst other things, about the role of therapeutic jurisprudence in an appeal court.
It is now day 2 of the conference. I will again blog the day. As with yesterday’s blog, here is my exclusion clause: what follows is a selection of thoughts and impressions rather than a comprehensive coverage of what each speaker says.
It is finally here – the first day of the sessions of the Non-Adversarial Justice: Implications for the Legal System and Society conference in Melbourne, Australia. After well over a year of work and planning for the conference we will see how it all turns out. It is exciting – seeing old friends from around the world, meeting new ones. Last night the Chief Magistrate of Victoria hosted a welcome reception, which was a wonderful event. It was good to be in the same room as so many people committed to more humane, psychologically optimal, comprehensive and inclusive approaches to resolving conflict. Leading lights in therapeutic jurisprudence, restorative justice, problem-solving courts, preventive law, ADR and holistic law are present. The possibility for cross-fertilisation is a wonderful opportunity in such a conference.
Moving Beyond "The Right to Be Heard": The Crime Victim's Right to Personal Accountability and Understanding
[DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE IN ITS ORIGINAL (COMPLETE WITH CITATIONS) IS ATTACHED TO THIS POSTING)
Moving Beyond the “Right to Be Heard”:
The Crime Victims’ Right to Personal Accountability and Understanding
by Aimee Caruso
From Asheville to Argentina: A Journey Eight Years in the Making