Groups: RJ and Prisons
Are you trying to implement restorative justice in a prison setting? Is it possible to have a "restorative prison", or is confinement inherently non-restorative? What are the special problems and opportunities in prisons?
Submitted by dan. on 2007-10-02 01:11.
A brief description of restorative justice projects operating in Missouri prisons.
GARDENS: Offenders run restorative justice gardens at correctional centers in Jefferson City, Boonville, Fulton, Charleston, Bowling Green, Licking and Cameron. Their produce is donated to food banks, schools, senior centers and other nonprofit groups.
OTHER ACTIVITIES: Other ways offenders pay back the community for their crimes include making lap blankets for the infirm; crocheted blankets for premature newborns; teaching aids for schools; and drawstring pants for rape victims.
CLASSES: Offenders also take classes in which they meet crime victims and reflect on the harm caused by their criminal behavior. The 40-hour curriculum is so popular that the class has a waiting list of 200 inmates.
Submitted by dan. on 2007-05-04 21:51.
The $1,850 that California State Prison, Solano inmates raised this year selling KFC [Kentucky Fried Chicken] dinners will go to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, an agency official said Tuesday.
The prison's Victim Offender Reconciliation Group stages several fundraisers yearly. Group members also encourage each other to accept responsibility for their crimes.
Submitted by dan. on 2007-05-02 23:11.
For offenders whose crimes are usually relatively minor (carjackers should not bother) and whose bank accounts remain lofty, a dozen or so city jails across the state offer pay-to-stay upgrades. Theirs are a clean, quiet, if not exactly recherché alternative to the standard county jails, where the walls are bars, the fellow inmates are hardened and privileges are few.
Ms. Brockett, who in her oversize orange T-shirt and flip-flops looked more like a contestant on “The Real World” than an inmate, shopped around for the best accommodations, travelocity.com style.
“It’s clean here,” she said, perched in a jail day room on the sort of couch found in a hospital emergency room. “It’s safe and everyone here is really nice. I haven’t had a problem with any of the other girls. They give me shampoo.”
For roughly $75 to $127 a day, these convicts — who are known in the self-pay parlance as “clients” — get a small cell behind a regular door, distance of some amplitude from violent offenders and, in some cases, the right to bring an iPod or computer on which to compose a novel, or perhaps a song.
And check this out for an interesting reflection on Charles Dickens' description of a similar scheme at Newgate Prison.
Submitted by dan. on 2007-05-01 21:54.
Throughout the ceremony, offenders spoke, sang, showed a video they made in conjunction with a victims family, performed a step-like routine and held a balloon release. They also stressed the week's theme, “Every Victim - Every Time,” and pledged “No more victims - no more pain.” As Kuhicsko and Cassidy sat listening to the words and watching the video, tears rolled down their cheeks, and for the first time Kuhicsko said she knows that these offenders know what they have done.
“I feel relieved - this was so amazing they put so much work into (helping) all of us see that they haven't forgotten either,” she said.
“This was really awesome I had no idea what to expect, but this was great,” Cassidy said, her arms full of plaques and pictures of Derrick, which were presented to them.
“This is a day we come together to secure the rights for the victims and their families. This is a day when we as offenders take responsibility for what we did, while we help you all remember your loved ones,” one offender said during the ceremony.
Feeling relieved, Kuhicsko and Cassidy smiled amid their tears as they released balloons, as they do every July 24 to honor their son and brother.
“I am really glad we came today,” Kuhicsko said. “It really is nice to see that the offenders get it too, and that they are doing this for the victims.”
Submitted by dan. on 2007-04-30 21:32.
At California State Prison, Solano, inmates in the Victim Offender Reconciliation Group work to accept responsibility for their crimes. They also raise money for victim groups and victims through sales of such things as chicken and pizza. Sitting Thursday in a circle in the prison's visiting room, inmates told Janet Bryan of Vallejo they were glad to give her a $1,850 check earlier this month to assist her work in Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Some of the 40 inmates also spoke of how Bryan and the self-help group have helped change their lives. Behind bars for such serious offenses as second-degree murder and accessory to murder, VORG members are challenged to face the harm they caused.
They also learn to say "I'm sorry" to victims, and come closer to forgiving themselves, said inmate Eric Brown. He said he found the courage to face the pain of his actions after listening to victim advocates like Bryan, and realizing how much courage it took to speak to them. His self-examination has been therapeutic, he said.
"What's left is that we are very, very sorry for what we've done," Brown said... .
Bryan recalled that at her first VORG meeting nearly two years ago she related how a drunk driver killed her 16-year-old, Raymond Joseph Vallejo. Afterwards, inmate Warren Bailey gave her the amends she never got from the driver by repeatedly telling her how sorry he was that her son died.
After that, she said she began climbing out of a pit of paralyzing grief and despair. "Little by little they've chipped away at me and helped me reach a place not to forgive John (the drunk driver) for killing
Raymond but to learn to live with the pain," she said.
Thursday, Bryan thanked them once more for helping her heal and for the MADD money. The $1,850 from inmates selling KFC
dinners to other prisoners will help Bryan stage a June 23 MADD
fundraiser on the five-year anniversary of her son's death.
Submitted by dan. on 2007-04-26 21:19.
Farmington Correctional Center employees and officials representing the court system and various crime victims groups gathered Tuesday afternoon for a Crime Victims’ Rights ceremony. Al Luebbers, the superintendent of the prison, explained the theme of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week this week is “Every Victim. Every Time.” He asked employees and others there to pledge to help every victim, every time — even those who decline services. Nearly 24 million Americans are harmed by crime each year.
Offenders in the Restorative Justice Program made several posters for the event that included information on how often each type of crime occurs in the nation.
Potosi Correctional Center will have a ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday while the prison in Bonne Terre will have a ceremony at 1 p.m. Thursday.
Community members are encouraged to join in the week’s activities and get involved in helping victims of crime.
Submitted by dan. on 2007-04-25 21:33.
Inmates also provided labor valued at $60,000 for restorative justice projects throughout the state.
Lathan was one of several speakers for the Glen Meadows Memorial Park dedication ceremony Saturday, which kicked off Victims’ Rights Week in Safford, which will run through April 28. The park is near the intersection of Discovery Park Boulevard and 14th Avenue on Safford’s south side.
The event was sponsored by the ADOC, the Eastern Arizona College, The Home Depot, city of Safford, the Victim/Witness program and Stand Against Violence Everywhere committee, known as SAVE.
The ceremony included cutting the ribbon to a new play port built by inmates from the Arizona State Prison-Safford. Prison inmates held a food fund-raiser to purchase about $4,000 worth of materials for the project, and The Home Depot contributed $1,000 worth of materials.
Submitted by dan. on 2007-04-25 21:19.
A state fund that benefits crime victims should be getting several million dollars more from criminals each year because of a law that takes more money from prison inmates, corrections officials said on Monday. Prisons now collect half of every dollar each inmate earns or receives from outsiders and put it into a restitution fund. The percentage increased from 40 percent under a law that took effect Jan. 1. Prison officials timed Monday's announcement to the start of Crime Victims' Rights Week.
The law also requires the state to seize the money automatically, without waiting for victims to file claims. Previously, only about 19 percent of victims filed claims.
In addition, the department is collecting the money from the moment inmates arrive in a reception center, instead of waiting until they get to prison... .
The percentage has increased steadily since 1992, when it was first set at 20 percent of inmates' income. Legislators increased collections to 30 percent in 2003 and to 40 percent in 2005.
Restitution is an important idea. The question here is whether the increase is in fact a restorative response to the needs of victims and capacities of offenders, or is instead a retributive response to offenders. Clues to this are that the restitution is taken automatically, that the percentage has increased steadily, and that it will be collected whether victims file claims or not.
Submitted by dan. on 2007-04-18 21:00.
Parliament should take urgent steps to abolish the death penalty in Kenya. It should freeze all current death sentences and transfer convicts on the death row to life imprisonment, through a Presidential declaration. These are the recommendation of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, in its new Position Paper number 2 of 2007.
In the end, the commission says, retention of the death penalty in Kenya’s statutes portrays the country as a society that does not respect the sanctity of life or the ability of those who have committed crimes to learn and reform through restorative and rehabilitative justice. This negative stance affects Kenya’s desire to become a human rights state built and governed by the principles of basic rights, the commission observes.
The commission also wants the Kenya Prisons Service transformed into the Department of Correctional Services, as part of penal reforms.
This would facilitate restorative justice and rehabilitation of offenders as a key objective of the department... .
The Government, through the Kenya Prisons Service, facilitates programmes and activities on restorative justice. Alternatives to the death penalty, such as life sentences, with a focus on reform and rehabilitation of offenders, should be given a priority... .
The Government should seek to establish and implement a support system for relatives of murder victims to ensure they do not suffer further violation by virtue of the crime. This is part of the restorative justice system that should be set up.
Submitted by dan. on 2007-04-11 22:53.
Imagine being hijacked three times, shot at and almost killed six times. Now imagine giving the person who tried to kill you a job. A brave and forgiving Michael Makamo made a surprise announcement at the launch of the Restorative Justice Programme at Leeuwkop prison in Jozi on Wednesday. As vice-president of motor group EmpowerFLEET Holdings, he wants to employ his attacker, Mpho Tshabalala.
“The aim of restorative justice is to repair the harm caused by a criminal act by holding the offender accountable for his actions – and ultimately to facilitate dialogue between the victim and the perpetrator,” said Leeuwkop psychologist Justine Hunt.
The two went through the programme last year and have both come to terms with the incident.
“I’ve forgiven him and we’re friends now,” said Makamo.
RJ and Prisons