A few months ago, I had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion called "Culture Shift, Alternatives to Suspension: Creating Connections for All Students," which highlighted the effectiveness of a restorative justice and youth court as an innovative approach to juvenile justice. Unlike the traditional model, Youth Court gives a voice to victims and offenders. Once these hearings are complete, offenders will often take responsibility and make reparations, either directly to the victim or to the school.
Restorative Justice is grounded in the ancient idea that having people get a real sense of how they are connected and belong, addressing their needs, and building their skills can be more powerful and effective in creating a healthy and safe community than relying on fear of punishment and retribution could ever be. Restorative approaches empower students to become leaders in violence prevention, conflict transformation, and school safety while also offering positive, skill-building alternatives to suspension and detention. Alternatives, Inc.
There's growing understanding that out-of-school suspensions can be damaging to students. This Thursday, a group will hold a one-day training on an alternative approach called restorative justice. Nicholas Bradford is the founder of the National Center for Restorative Justicea Seattle-based group that's organizing the training.
Practice Goals In restorative justice programs, crime is viewed as a violation of people and their relationships; crime harms both the victim and the wider community Zehr ; Wilson et al. Compared with the traditional criminal justice system, restorative justice programs focus more on healing than punishment and gives victims and the community a voice in the process. The fundamental premise of restorative justice programs is repairing the damage between the victim and the offender, and to the community. Restorative justice programs, however, involve multiple approaches, including victim—offender mediation, family group conferences, and peacemaking circles Latimer et al.
Youth justice may be one of the most challenging and complex areas of the social service arena, for a number of reasons. Youth who run afoul of the criminal justice system often face challenges in a number of areas, which may include poverty, homelessness, drug use, violence, and education, to name a few. However, the concept of restorative justice, which has only gained widespread attention in the past decade, seeks to address youth justice in a more holistic way.
Police handcuffed a year-old boy this year, stirring vocal protests. Other incidents with young children followed, often captured by neighbors on cell phone videos. NPR is allowed to attend a session in which a year-old boy accused of assault spends three hours meeting with the victim.
Schools and teachers dealing with behavior issues and bullying are constantly searching for new and effective ways to handle it all. But what is restorative justice, and what does it take to make it work in schools? What is restorative justice?
Misbehave, get punished. The most extreme form of this law-and-order strategy is zero tolerance, described in Rethinking Schools by Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn back inas these policies gained popularity:. In schools today, educators still respond to what they perceive as student misbehavior with punishment.
Four men were charged with the attack, but instead of pushing for a harsh jail sentence, the two victims proposed something else: a face-to-face meeting with the perpetrators. The idea is based on a process called restorative justice. In a country where criminal justice often involves harsh penalties like jail time and steep fines, restorative justice asks everyone impacted by a conflict or a crime to develop a shared understanding of both its root causes and effects.
I n a small workshop on an industrial estate, Jordan Lee Caffyn is putting the finishing touches to a beautifully handcrafted wooden memory box. The box is the culmination of several days' graft that Caffyn, 18, is rightly proud of. But Caffyn is not a trainee joiner. He is at the workshop as part of Surrey's restorative justice scheme following his arrest for criminal damage.