field_reader_bravo.pdf

field_reader_bravo.pdf - Field Reader The Emerging Field of...

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Unformatted text preview: Field Reader The Emerging Field of Restorative Justice A Healing Approach to Justice By: Valentina Bravo ' Summer 2013 MacLeod and Saito Table of Contents 1. Introductory Essay II. Annotated Bibliography 1. Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth 2. Restorative Justice Online 3. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program 4. Barron County Restorative Justice Programs 5. Youth Justice-The New Zealand Experience 6. Restorative Resources 7. The Resolve to Stop the Violence Project 8. Ghandi's Justice and Restorative Justice by Fania E. Davis 9. California Budget Program 10. American Civil Liberties Union 11. Color Lines News for Action 12. Youtube Video METWEST High school, Oakland 13. Youtube Video McClymonds High School, Oakland III. Works Cited For as long as I can remember, I have been questioning our faulty system, our system that is full of hurt and little healing. Our system which hurts people who hurt people to teach us that hurting people is bad. This is the way our government works along with our criminal justice system and for as long as I can remember I have been trying to find an alternative to help those people who hurt because they are hurting or have been hurt. I was raised by a mother who taught me that helping people heal is better than hurting people which causes breakages in relationships and disharmony. When I signed up for the Restorative Justice workshop at CIIS this year, I had no idea what it meant, all I knew was that it sounded interesting and right down my alley. I was immediately inspired after our first meeting together, hearing Fania Davis's stories and being introduced to Restorative Justice filled me with hope. That night, my husband was jumped and held up at gun point in Richmond. Luckily, they did not take his life, only his belongings. It was an emotional weekend. Sadness, hope, happiness, anger, sorrow, hopelessness all swept over me, through me. Our panelists' stories penetrated me in a way I wouldn’t have imagined just a few days earlier. Hearing the stories, I realized how easily my husband's life could have been taken, how easily I could have become a widow, and how grateful I was that neither happened. Holding my husband in my arms that night, both of us weeping, I kept thinking to myself: now more than ever I have to do something-now more than ever I have to help- this is my calling. And I prayed for those men that night, who for one reason or another, decided that holding a gun to a man's head they knew nothing about, was okay. I prayed for those men who violated my husband, those men who when walking away turned around and said “Let's keep being brothers," I did this because I truly believe that "it is better to light a single candle then to curse the darkness (Gandhi)." Today, I ask myself, what has justice come to mean? Does justice exist? And when I examine the current, punitive, justice paradigm of today, I can't help but wonder how justice came to be played out in such a way. We are coming up on the 50th anniversary of the famous "I have a dream speech," by MLK, and I wonder, can we learn to dream together? Dr. King's vision of justice is one of love not of harm “Justice is really love in application. Justice is love correcting that which would work against love. Standing beside love is always justice." Dr. King and many before him have paved the road, mapped the blueprint, and showed us that justice and harm do not go hand in hand. Gandhi believed that "If you express your love- Ahimsa-in such a manner that it impresses itself indelibly upon your so called enemy, he must return that love. ...And that requires far greater courage than delivering of blows.” Indigenous peoples, eastern religions, Hinduism, and many other worldviews believe that we are all related and we are all connected, all beings on this earth. For example “In the West African Ifa tradition, we all share use, a Yoruba word connoting the universal, spiritual energy pulsating throughout all of living creation. The Sioux would say “Mitakye oyasin," meaning to all my relations, we all related, we are one. “All living beings exist within a luminous web of mutuality and interrelationship. This ancient View of the universe is a view shared by modern physics. We are all relatives. This suggests an ethos in which each is responsible for self, for one another, and for maintaining harmony and balance in all our relationships. Indeed, under this doctrine, there are no enemies (Davis, 2005)." Gandhi’s idea that one must be the change we wish to see in the world declared a movement which is still inside of many of our hearts today. Gandhi was a peaceful social activist and created a movement which ended up freeing India from Britain's rule in1947, as well as inspiring anti apartheid movements in South Africa, and created a blueprint for the US civil rights movement which began in the 19505 (Davis, 2005). It is our duty to learn from the great, peaceful Victories from the past and note that they are possible. The criminal justice system of today is creating pain and harm in our brothers and sisters, our youth, and it is our duty to find a better way, that way is Restorative justice. Restorative justice invites a paradigm shift from a harming justice (retributive justice) to a healing justice (restorative justice). Restorative justice can help break the ongoing circle of crime and harm (Davis, 2005). Our current criminal justice system is one that believes whoever causes harm should be harmed in return. If you take a life, your life (sometimes) will be taken. Our current criminal justice system believes that people learn lessons by punishing and harming them, by isolating and depriving them, by locking them away, and through death. I have heard it since I was a little girl, an eye for an eye, but I have never agreed with this idea. Punishing people who harm people is a belief which has dominated the minds of many and people have come to believe that punishment walks hand in hand with justice (Davis, 2005). Retributive justice focuses on asking three questions: what law was broken, who broke it, and what should the punishment be? Retributive Justice gives the power to courts, prisons, police, and the use of guns. Retributive Justice believes that if you fragment your society than you owe a debt to society and you will pay for that debt, “the question begged is who determines what is due? And how? Justice is not blind—she often "peeks" to determine race, economic status, sex, and religion prior to determining what is due (Davis, 2005).” Recently, we have seen justice “peek" in the Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman case where Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin and was found not guilty and will not serve one day in prison. Is this justice? Our criminal justice system itself is fragmenting our society. Since the 19703, we have seen almost a 1000 percent increase in incarceration; our prison industrial complex houses the largest number of prisoners in the world, and this number is only getting higher (Davis, 2005). The US. comprises five percent of the world's population but is responsible for 25% of the prisoners in the world. In the US. we are responsible for incarcerating 2.3 million people out of which 70% are people of color. Not only are our prisons overcrowded, but we spend over 70 million dollars a year on these correctional facilities (American Civil Liberties Union & ACLU Foundation, 2011). In the past thirty years, the number of inmates in California's facilities has grown eight times faster than the overall size of its population (California Budget Project, 2009). Prisoners, though American citizens, do not have constitutional rights. Those on the outside of the prison walls have no idea what goes on inside, especially in maximum security prisons (Davis, 2005). According to KPFA radio, based out of Berkeley, journalists are not allowed to go into prisons and interview prisoners unless the prison certifies them the right to do so which of course, that right is only given to certain journalists who will report the information that benefits the reputation of that prison. Prisons such as Supermax panipticon gulags confine their prisoners up to 23 hours a day, every day of the week. What does that kind of isolation do to a human being? It creates emotional and complete mental breakdowns (Davis, 2005). According to KPFA radio, there is a current nationwide hunger strike taking place in prisons across the country. They are protesting the way they are being treated and solitary confinement. Overcrowding, the opposite of isolation, is another problem which creates mental breakdowns in the inmates. According to KPFA, prison authorities force feed individuals who refuse to eat by sticking tubes up their noses or down their throats and force them to participate in a highly painful and uncomfortable feeding which can last up to two hours. Prisoners do not have the right to freedom of speech or protest their rights, among many if not all of the rest of our constitutional rights. It is also no surprise when we find that two of five African American male youth are ensnared by the criminal justice system (Davis, 2005). Our current system is flawed in many ways, isn’t it time we look at doing things differently and stop wounding our society further? . Restorative Justice is a relatively new movement, only thirty years old, beginning in the early 1980's. Restorative Justice aims at breaking the circle of crime. The Restorative Justice model asks: who was harmed, what are the needs and obligations that have arisen, who's been affected by the harm, how can the healing begin, and how do we all come together to heal the harm. This model “seeks to heal and transform the wounds of victims, offenders and communities caused or revealed by the wrongdoing. It is frequently based upon a fourfold process of: (1) Truth telling (2) Apology (3) Making Amends/Reparation (4) Reconciliation (Davis, 2005).” Restorative Justice works at strengthening communities by involving them and asking them to participate in the process of cultivating healing when a harm is committed. When someone commits harm, they usually face charges alone and go through the entire punitive process alone but in restorative justice, it is believed that harm committed within a community effects not only those who were directly harmed, but all of the members of that community as well. In this way, R.J. helps build bridges and strengthen relationships. "Rather than foster hostility between the parties, it'provides an opportunity for those who harm and those who are harmed to empathize with one other. It allows the person responsible for the harm, and the community, where appropriate, to take responsibility for actions that led to the behavior resulting in harm. It allows the person responsible to make amends. And it allows the community to take steps to prevent recurrence. Ultimately, it allows all parties, but especially the person harmed, to begin the process of healing (Davis, 2005).” Our current criminal justice system, which is set up in a quite linear fashion, is set up around two opposing parties against each other which quarrel and blame in order for a third party to determine who is right or wrong and/ or who is guilty or innocent. Restorative Justice on the other hand is not about sides. The parties involved come together in a circle and everyone focuses on the issue at hand which is about figuring out how the harm is to be repaired. Restorative justice’s goal is to find a way to create healing for all versus a victory for one, “justice is a healing ground, not a battleground (Davis, 2005]." Punishment doesn’t make things right in the lives of those that were harmed, and in a way haven't we all been harmed? Don’t we harm because we were harmed on some level? Punishment in many ways reproduces and multiplies harm. If we see the world as a vengeful place than the world will indeed become a vengeful place. If we continue to believe in an "eye for an eye" than we are heading in the direction of a nation that will soon be blind. An eye for an eye mentality creates fragmentation in communities and with no community there is no container to hold us, no safety nets, nobody to fall back on, and we are left feeling alone; eventually leading to a social breakdown (Davis, 2005). Restorative Justice is based on five models and can be used in school systems, in families, at work, in prisons, or really anywhere that has suffered from trauma. There are Victim Impact Panels where victims go to prisons and talk with offenders who are close to completing their sentence and give the offender a chance to speak about how their lives have been affected. There are Victim Ofi‘ender Mediation Programs where victims meet with their offenders. In this type of situation, there is a lot of preparation that goes into this meeting before it actually occurs. Sometimes preparation on both sides takes years before the encounter actually happens and the victim and offender are ready. There is a Family Group Conference model where youth and their families come together along with professionals who will facilitate the meeting in order to determine how to repair the damage done for the harm that occurred. The fourth model is the circle process, “including the parties, their families, supporters, friends, justice professionals as well as community members at large, and anyone who has a legitimate stake in the offense.” Finally we have the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which is used in such contexts where mass violence has occurred leaving wounds of war in its wake (Davis, 2005). Government representatives may also join in on these meetings if there was a large ripple effect. Sometimes the communication happens through letters, videos, or third parties (PFI Centre for Justice and Reconciliation, 2013). One big reason R.]. calls to my attention is because its focus is on the body, mind, spirit and emotions of people who harm and/or have been harmed themselves. Restorative Justice examines what the survivors needs are after being harmed in order to move into wholeness. It also examines why the crime was committed-what was going on in the life/lives of those that caused the hurt and what can be done in the future to help prevent that crime from happening again (PFI Centre for Justice and Reconciliation, 2013). I like that in Restorative Justice, an act doesn't define who you are. Restorative Justice is becoming a worldwide movement. In Africa, R]. is being used to recover indigenous justice practices, to address prison overcrowding, and in effort to reconstruct reconciliation in the nation after enduring civil war, genocide, and state funded violence. In Asia, the focus of restorative justice is being applied in the juvenile justice system, to re establish connection to indigenous practices, and by making an attempt at peacemaking/reconciliation amongst deeply divided Asian countries. In Europe, restorative justice is being practiced widely and you will find that restorative programs can be found in all aspects of the criminal justice system. Here, the government as well as civil society participate and support this system. Restorative Justice is being used to reform the juvenile justice system, in schools as alternative disciplinary action, and as a model to reconstruct their current justice systems. The government and civil society are working at developing standards to make sure that restorative programs are on point with the delivery of the principles, quality, and integrity, of true restorative justice. The European restorative practice took initiative in developing evaluation studies on restorative practices and the outcomes which is helpful at finding out success rates (PFI Centre for Justice and Reconciliation, 2013). Latin American countries have used restorative justice “to reform their justice systems, increase citizen confidence, pursue national reconciliation, and build a ‘culture of peace.” In the Middle East, restorative practices are being used in juvenile justice and child welfare systems as well as helping to recover and help preserve a traditional development of conflict resolution. In the Pacific, restorative justice is being used to address conflicts in areas such as crime and conflicts that arise in schools, as well as being used to address indigenous concerns. The R]. method is being applied in schools as an alternative to the current punitive method of discipline. Court systems “have begun looking at restorative practices as part of a sentence or as mitigating factors in sentencing." North America and the Caribbean have been influenced in large by indigenous Native American practices of peacekeeping and circle processes. Though it has been a practice by Native Americans and indigenous peoples all over the world for centuries, restorative justice is now rapidly expanding due to a major discontent with our current justice system, overcrowding in prisons, and a need to look at the needs of victims. It is currently being applied in systems such as prisons, schools, and child welfare. It is being used to help inmates make the difficult transition back to their families and communities after completing their sentences. Restorative programs in prisons are being used to help inmates understand the impact of crime on victims and the community. These programs provide victims the opportunity to interact with their offenders, ask them questions, which in turn helps the victims find their path toward healing (PFI Centre for Justice and Reconciliation, 2013). In March of this year, I took part in a three day Restorative Justice intensive workshop at my school, the California Institute of Integral Studies. I learned that there are several organizations here in the Bay Area engaged in Restorative Justice. Some of these organizations are: Restorative justice for Oakland Youth, Insight Prison Project, Community Works, Oakland Police Department, Restorative justice Training Institute, National Council for Crime and Delinquency, faith based organizations such as Allen Temple in Oakland, Universities: Fresno State, UC Berkeley, California, Institute of Integral Studies, and USF (RIOY, 2012). Personally I believe that we can correct much of our society's problems if we start with Our youth, since they are the future of our planet, and so I will focus more closely on how restorative justice is being applied in the betterment of youth in California and the Bay Area. As we know, children spend most of their day in a school setting, give or take about seven hours a day. Schools in the Bay Area and more specifically, in Oakland are working hard at implementing positive change through R.]. practices. In adopting R.]. into the school systems, children are now experiencing a more caring community as well as necessary tools in problem solving that they can use for the rest of their lives. What we have seen in the past and what is happening currently in much of the United States and the world is a “school to prison pipeline.” This refers to a national trend of punishing and criminalizing students, mainly those of color, instead of nurturing and educating them as well as asking them about their current life situation (American Civil Liberties Union & ACLU Foundation, 2011). A nationwide survey conducted in 2006 measured the suspension rates by race and gender in middle schools across the nation. The survey concluded that suspension rates for Black students generally exceeded that of the other groups which were White, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian/ Pacific Islander. Black females had a suspension rate of 18%, 8.5% Hispanic females, 9.6% Native American females compared to 4% of White females, and 2% of Asian females. The rates of suspension among men based on race was 28% Black males, 16% Hispanic males, 15% Native ...
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