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.
Reformed churches are predominantly Presbyterian in polity, where the congregation is governed by a group of elected elders who are lay persons and a minister. Regional groups of churches form a Presbytery, and groups of Presbyteries form Synods that together form the national General Assembly. The Reformed Tradition is monotheistic, affirming one God, in three persons. The persons of the Trinity are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Reformed Christians are called, always and everywhere, to a committed pursuit of social justice and human wholeness. Disease, illness, suffering, and death, and indeed natural disaster as well, are a consequence of humankind’s choosing to go its own way and to live. Theologically, death is a consequence of human willfulness or going our own way in disobedience to God. Reformed Christian religious terminology reflects, in large part that found in mainstream Protestant Christian traditions.
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.
This chapter defines restorative justice and discusses the various forms that this approach to wrongdoing and offending may take. It reveals the relevance of restorative interventions to social work practice. The chapter recognizes pioneers in the field of restorative justice with special emphasis on social work theorists. It describes the various forms of restorative justice from micro level victim-offender conferencing to community-level healing circles to macro level reparative justice. The chapter argues for greater social work involvement in shaping policies that include restorative justice options in situations of wrongdoing and social work involvement in facilitating victim–offender and anti bullying conferencing. The chapter also describes aspects of restorative justice that address competencies related to advocacy for human rights and issues of spirituality.
This chapter distinguishes between spirituality and religiosity. It reports on a study that begins to deconstruct the elements in restorative justice that might be considered spiritual. Spirituality is defined as a reverence for life. Sacred reverence is defined as being in awe of and deep regard or veneration. Religious leaders are often strong promoters at the forefront of many rehabilitative justice practices including restorative justice. By delineating specific spiritual components, the concept of spirituality is made clearer and more usable by social workers and other mediators of restorative justice practice. Bender and Armour examined texts about restorative justice using a hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Nine components of spirituality emerged from the research on the restorative justice literature such as: internal transformation, connectedness, common human bond, repentance, forgiveness, making right a wrong, balance or harmony, rituals and the spirit or supernatural.
This chapter provides an introduction to the three basic dialogue practices like victim-offender mediation (VOM), family group conferencing (FGC) and peacemaking circles and the expansion of VOM to include severely violent crime. It describes the components of a restorative justice dialogue that are a part of all approaches. The chapter delineates the stages in developing a dialogue including referral, preparation, dialogue meeting, and follow-up. Again these stages demonstrate how restorative justice values, principles, and core concepts are actualized in the process. The chapter describes the conditions necessary for creating the context that enables change during the dialogue. Those conditions include a process orientation, safety establishment, respectful interaction, and the flow of positive energy. Besides embodying restorative justice values, these conditions represent spiritual components. The components include: personal accountability in response to the harm, inclusivity, voluntarism, preparation for the dialogue, and the telling of story as personal truth.
Forensic Social Work, 2nd Edition:Psychosocial and Legal Issues Across Diverse Populations and Settings
The growing public awareness of bias and discrimination and the disproportionate involvement of minority populations, especially based on race, class, and gender, have affected the social work profession with a call to fulfill its long-forgotten mission to respond and advocate for justice reform and health and public safety. Forensic social workers practice far and wide where issues of justice and fairness are found. This book emphasizes on the diversity of populations and settings, social workers would best serve their clients adding a forensic or legal lens to their practice. It targets the important and emerging practice specialization of forensic social work, a practice specialization that speaks to the heart, head, and hands (i.e., knowledge, values, and skills) of social work using a human rights and social justice approach integrated with a forensic lens. The book defines forensic social work to include not only a narrow group of people who are victims or convicted of crimes and subsequently involved in the juvenile justice and criminal justice settings, but broadly all the individuals and families involved with family and social services, education, child welfare, mental health, and behavioral health or other programs, in which they are affected by human rights and social justice issues, or federal and state laws and policies. Practitioners who read this book will learn and apply a human rights legal framework and social justice and empowerment theories to guide multilevel prevention, psychosocial assessments, and interventions with historically underserved individuals, families, and communities, especially using the life course systems power analysis strategy and family televisiting. The book fills a critical gap in the knowledge, values, and skills for human rights and social justice–focused social work education and training.
This book is a guide to understanding core restorative justice values and practices and what we have learned from research on the impact of this emerging social movement in the global community. The first three chapters provide an overview of the restorative justice movement and its connection with core social work values and spirituality (not religion). Restorative justice dialogue and its most widespread applications are then presented in Chapters four through eight. Each chapter on a specific application of restorative justice dialogue includes a thorough description of the process, including case examples, followed by a review of empirical research that is available. These chapters describe the most widely used applications, namely victim-offender mediation (VOM), family group conferencing (FGC), peacemaking circles, and victim-offender dialogue (VOD) in crimes of severe violence. The concluding three chapters, nine through eleven, focus on broader issues related to restorative justice dialogue. The crucial role of the facilitator in restorative justice dialogue is highlighted, followed by identifying the dimensions of culture in the restorative justice movement and the very real possibility of unintended negative consequences if we are not mindful of these dimensions. Finally, emerging areas of practice that go beyond the juvenile and criminal justice system are addressed.
This chapter promotes understanding of the intersection of social work case level practice skills and social welfare programs and policy. It describes the social work advocacy process, and explores how social and political values impact accessibility to social welfare programs. It assists social workers in developing competence in policy practice and in case and policy advocacy. The chapter also helps social workers recognize when social welfare and economic policies are not fairly distributed, and to become skilled in taking action at the micro-, mezzo, and/or macro level. It discusses the interaction of direct practice with case advocacy to underscore the critical need to understand and interpret policy to achieve social justice. The chapter further highlights the importance of social workers engaging in case and policy advocacy to achieve a socially just outcome for any individual or group, especially those impacted by involvement in the criminal justice system.