This chapter presents an overview of the restorative justice movement in the twenty-first century. Restorative justice, on the other hand, offers a very different way of understanding and responding to crime. Instead of viewing the state as the primary victim of criminal acts and placing victims, offenders, and the community in passive roles, restorative justice recognizes crime as being directed against individual people. The values of restorative justice are also deeply rooted in the ancient principles of Judeo-Christian culture. A small and scattered group of community activists, justice system personnel, and a few scholars began to advocate, often independently of each other, for the implementation of restorative justice principles and a practice called victim-offender reconciliation (VORP) during the mid to late 1970s. Some proponents are hopeful that a restorative justice framework can be used to foster systemic change. Facilitation of restorative justice dialogues rests on the use of humanistic mediation.
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This chapter describes some of the recent restorative justice innovations and research that substantiates their usefulness. It explores developments in the conceptualization of restorative justice based on emergence of new practices and reasons for the effectiveness of restorative justice as a movement and restorative dialogue as application. Chaos theory offers a better way to view the coincidental timeliness of the emergence of restorative justice as a deeper way of dealing with human conflict. The chapter reviews restorative justice practices that have opened up areas for future growth. Those practices include the use of restorative practices for student misconduct in institutions of higher education, the establishment of surrogate dialogue programs in prison settings between unrelated crime victims and offenders. They also include the creation of restorative justice initiatives for domestic violence and the development of methods for engagement between crime victims and members of defense teams who represent the accused offender.
This chapter lays the foundation for facilitative leadership from the unique social work perspective. Social work’s Code of Ethics and social work practice principles contribute to the value-based leadership that is part of the facilitative leader’s core. Among the important expectations of social work leadership are cultural sensitivity and competence. Five discussion areas have been selected as essential to facilitative leadership from a social work perspective: inclusion, strengths-based leadership, power and the difference between power over and power with, oppression and social justice, and the elusive but critically important concept of empowerment. There are different types of power and power relationships such as productive power and destructive power. Being conscious of privilege and oppression are precursors to understanding social injustice and working toward social justice. The social work program identifies social justice as a professional obligation of social workers to attempt to improve the quality of all people’s lives.
- Go to chapter: Restorative Justice and Community Well-Being: Visualizing Theories, Practices, and Research—Part 1
This chapter introduces the theoretical basis for restorative justice (RJ). It assesses the empirical evidence for RJ programs, and explores the challenges and opportunities associated with applying core competencies. The chapter describes competencies of specific interest which include: engaging diversity and difference in practice, and engaging with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. It also discusses skills essential to the success of RJ which include supporting processes that value the experiences of people associated with a crime or harm. The chapter suggests the importance of practical and context-specific knowledge and skills relevant when individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities find themselves in conflict and require support. Programs that rely upon restorative principles have been used at a variety of points in the criminal justice process. The chapter discusses a practice, a family group conference, which was first developed in New Zealand involving social workers considerably.
This chapter discusses the concepts, underlying principles, benefits, and challenges of using “whole-family” approaches in social work. It articulates the theory and skills associated with family engagement as part of a human rights and social justice framework for social work practice in forensic settings. The chapter describes the ethical imperatives and evidence base supporting the use of family group decision making (FGDM) in regulatory settings. It engages whole families as partners in the use of FGDM in child protection and youth justice. The chapter also describes the theory, empirical support, and skills in use of FGDM, or family group conferencing (FGC). It concluded with an example of how alert forensic social workers must be to the potential for their best intentions to collide with the tenants of responsive practice and a quote from a child protection social worker who worked closely with the author on a pilot project using FGC.
- Go to chapter: Thinking Outside the Box: Tackling Health Inequities Through Forensic Social Work Practice
This chapter emphasizes the importance of improving health literacy. It describes the incorporation of cultural competence standards in forensic social work practice perspectives. The chapter also explains how to promote engagement of informal support networks in promoting health and well-being among diverse groups. Disadvantaged racial and ethnic minorities in the United States have long been overrepresented in the criminal justice systems. The elimination of health care disparities and ensuring the health care delivery system is responsive to minority groups is a social justice issue. The roles and function of forensic social workers that provide services to persons with these cultural norms can be expanded using a broader ecological framework and the applied social care model to develop intervention strategies and care plans with incarceration persons. Identifying and incorporating culturally appropriate practice approaches are challenging, yet necessary undertakings for forensic social workers.
- Go to chapter: Intersectoral Collaboration: Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Homelessness Among Vulnerable Populations
Intersectoral Collaboration: Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Homelessness Among Vulnerable Populations
Substance abuse is a significant problem among persons who are homeless. This chapter explores the application of addiction recovery management (ARM) principles for developing practice skills in the recovery process among vulnerable populations. It examines demographic and social action factors that may impede or foster successful completion of this long-term recovery for persons who are experiencing home insecurity. The chapter offers insight for forensic social workers about how to engage diversity and differences in practice, as well as advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice. Analytic concepts in forensic social work can enhance the capacity of educators to prepare practitioners to be effective in closing the gap that exists for racial disparities in treatment approaches and programs. Critical race theory can be used to develop guiding principles for competency-based education and outcomes that address the gaps in existing systems of care.
This chapter describes how forensic social workers can develop their expert witness testimony skills. It explains how to advocate on behalf of vulnerable racial and ethnic populations generally underrepresented in American legal system, to increase advocacy from a human rights perspective. The chapter explores how to use expert testimony to highlight a range of social justice issues including human trafficking, death, and persecution. It introduces forensic social workers to integrating narrative methods with evidence-based trends that can best support any legal claim for hardship. Expert witness testimony comprises core mitigation components: client interviews; collateral interviewing; obtaining institutional records; identifying core themes of hardship that have directly impacted the individual or family; identifying intergenerational patterns of illness and/or systemic traumas that impact family; identifying environmental and country conditions; writing a report; and preparing for direct testimony and cross-examination.
This chapter aims to disseminate theoretical and practical knowledge of practice using an empowerment and feminist perspective specifically when working with marginalized and oppressed forensic populations and in forensic settings. Forensic social work focuses on both victims and offenders, and strives to integrate the skills and knowledge of empowerment and feminist theory and practice with principles of social justice and human rights. The chapter discusses empowerment and feminist theories and their relevance to practice with forensic populations. It highlights a case example of group work with women, who were sexually abused, that was first presented in the 1990s and told from a strengths-based approach, but could very much be considered both a feminist and empowerment process of working. The chapter also highlights applying an empowerment approach to working with female and male prisoners in London.
This chapter examines the differences in facilitating a settlement-driven versus dialogue-driven mediation. It also examines the concept of introducing a humanistic approach to mediation and dialogue. The chapter presents the characteristics and qualities of an effective mediator in relation to the victim and offender, the facilitator’s responsibilities during preparation, the dialogue itself, and follow-up, including the significance of self-care. Nowhere else in the restorative justice process is the principle of respect and being non-judgmental more critical than in how the facilitator treats victim, offender, and other key stakeholders. Settlement-driven mediation is generally practiced within a conflict resolution context. In contrast, dialogue-driven mediation recognizes that most conflicts develop within a larger emotional and relational context characterized by powerful feelings of disrespect, betrayal, and abuse. Besides the governing values that define humanistic mediation, mediators must cultivate their emotional commitment to and connection with the highest principles they assign to the dialogue work.