Restoring Community
By Joshua Wachtel

John BraithwaiteOn June 16, 2006, John Braithwaite will be one of two social scientists awarded the first Stockholm Prize in Criminology from the Swedish Ministry of Justice for “outstanding achievements in criminological research or for the application of research results by practitioners for the reduction of crime and the advancement of human rights.” Braithwaite is founder and head of the Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet) at the Research School for Social Sciences at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra and has been a major force in the restorative justice movement. (Co-winner of the prize is Friedrich Lösel, professor at the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge, England, a leader in crime prevention research.)

David Bayley, professor and former dean of the School of Criminal Justice at University at Albany, State University of New York, co-wrote a letter of recommendation for Braithwaite as part of a nomination presented to the Swedish Ministry of Justice by Heather Strang, director of the ANU’s Centre for Restorative Justice. Said Bayley, “John Braithwaite has had the greatest impact of any criminologist in the last century. He provided the major antidote to traditional criminal justice. Some people have done some scholarship into the causes of crimes or the way criminal justice systems work. He did it all. And now restorative justice is an international movement.”

By Abbey J. Porter

The studies show that conferencing can reduce victims' unresolved anger and anxiety and increase their satisfaction with the justice process.

The Jerry Lee Program on Randomized Controlled Experiments in Restorative Justice (http://www.sas.upenn.edu/jerrylee/research/rj.htm) is comparing restorative conference outcomes, for both victims and offenders, to those of conventional criminal justice practices in numerous criminal cases in Australia and the United Kingdom. Results to date confirm many conference participants’ perceptions: Restorative justice produces substantial and statistically significant benefits for victims of crime.

“The most striking finding across all our tests has been the high positive ratings that victims have given, compared to victims in court,” said lead researcher Dr. Heather Strang, director of the Centre for Restorative Justice at the Australian National University (ANU), in Canberra, and a visiting fellow at the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), in Philadelphia, USA. “They seemed to benefit at an extremely high level from the restorative justice meeting.”

By Laura Mirsky

Students at St. James Primary School participate in a restorative circle facilitated by Mark Finnis, restorative justice development officer at the Sefton Centre for Restorative Practice.The Sefton Centre for Restorative Practice has a goal—to create a restorative community. The brainchild of Sefton Youth Offending Team (YOT) manager Steve Eyre, the center may be the only building in the UK dedicated to restorative practices. (There are 154 multi-agency YOTs under the guidance of the Youth Justice Board in all of the local authorities in England and Wales, made up of representatives from probation, education, social services, health and police. Their principal aim is to stop and prevent young people from committing offenses by providing programs and interventions to both the court and the young offenders themselves.)

For nearly two years, with training and assistance from IIRP affiliate Real Justice UK, the center’s team—including Eyre, line manager John Gibbens, restorative justice facilitator Paul Moran, restorative justice development officers Mark Finnis and Paula Downes, police officer Malcolm McConchie, senior prevention manager Carol Jenkinson, victim inclusion officers Sylvia Bouqdib and Sharon Jones and support staffer Carla Cunningham—has been implementing restorative practices across the board in Sefton.

By John Boulton, Laura Mirsky

The Bessels Leigh School, in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England, a residential special school for boys with emotional and behavioral difficulties, age 11-16, has seen a remarkable change in culture, due to restorative practices.

Via restorative processes both formal and informal, the approximately 28 pupils are encouraged to express their emotions and feelings and consider those of others. In a very powerful way they are made aware of the consequences of their behavior and can recognize the harm that their actions have caused. In partnership with the IIRP and Real Justice UK and SaferSanerSchools UK, Bessels Leigh School is on track to become a demonstration school for restorative practices in the UK.

Established in 1964, Bessels Leigh School formerly served mostly pupils at the milder end of the behavioral spectrum. The philosophy was traditional, structured and authoritarian. Pupils and staff were generally happy, boundaries were not severely tested, pupil-staff relationships were mostly positive and staff turnover was low.

This article in the UK''s Guardian newspaper reports on a survey showing that nearly two-thirds of a random sampleof 991 adult victims of crime believe that prison sentences don''tprevent reoffending. More than half favor face-to-face meetings betweenvictims and offenders, so victims can relate the impact of the crimeand offenders can take responsibility and make amends.

A report on the conference, including a detailed conference schedule and papers related to plenary and breakout sessions.

Paper by Wanchai Roujanavang, director general of the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection, Thailand Ministry of Justice, presented in a plenary session at "The Next Step: Developing Restorative Communities," the IIRP''s 7th International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, in Manchester, England, UK, November 9-11, 2005.

Paper by Graham Robb, advisor for the Behaviour and Attendance Program, Department for Education and Skills, England, presented in a plenary session at "The Next Step: Developing Restorative Communities," the IIRP''s 7th International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, in Manchester, England, UK, November 9-11, 2005.

Paper by Belgian youth workers Elisabeth Vandenbogaerde and Michael Michiels, presented in a plenary session at "The Next Step: Developing Restorative Communities," the IIRP''s 7th International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, in Manchester, England, UK, November 9-11, 2005.

Paper by IIRP president and founder Ted Wachtel, presented in a plenary session at "The Next Step: Developing Restorative Communities," the IIRP''s 7th International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, in Manchester, England, UK, November 9-11, 2005.

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