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Voter Outreach

Voter Outreach

Concepts, strategies and objectives to move voters to action

Written by Peter Grear Educate, Organize and Mobilize: Each week over the past several months I’ve written about various aspects of voter suppression with the purpose of explaining its concepts,…

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Keatts A Keeper For New-Look Seahawks

Keatts A Keeper For New-Look Seahawks

New Head Men’s Basketball Coach was all smiles

New Head Men’s Basketball Coach was all smiles at Trask Coliseum. WILMINGTON, NC – Boldly proclaiming, “I’m a winner,” and promising “an exciting brand of basketball” newly-christened UNCW head men’s basketball coach Kevin Keatts said Tuesday that a new day in Seahawk basketball has arrived.

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Lied-to Children More Likely to Cheat and Lie

Lied-to Children More Likely to Cheat and Lie

The study tested 186 children ages 3 to 7

The study tested 186 children ages 3 to 7 in a temptation-resistance paradigm. Approximately half of the children were lied to by an experimenter, who said there was “a huge bowl of candy in the next room” but quickly confessed this was just a ruse to get the child to come play a game. 

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Unconscious Mind Can Detect a Liar When Conscious Mind Fails

Unconscious Mind Can Detect a Liar When Conscious Mind Fails

The unconscious mind could catch a liar

“We set out to test whether the unconscious mind could catch a liar – even when the conscious mind failed,” says ten Brinke. Along with Berkeley-Haas Assistant Professor Dana R. Carney, lead author ten Brinke and Dayna Stimson (BS 2013, Psychology), hypothesized that these seemingly paradoxical findings may be accounted for by unconscious mental processes.

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Alliance of North Carolina Black Elected Officials: Educate, Organize, and Mobilize

Alliance of North Carolina Black Elected Officials: Educate, Organize, and Mobilize

North Carolina Alliance of Black Elected Officials

Written by Peter Grear, Esq.  Since August 2013 I've continued to ask myself "what would an effective campaign to defeat voter suppression look like?” Well, on Friday, February 14, 2014, Valentine's Day, I got my answer from Richard Hooker, President of the…

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Download Greater Diversity News Digital PDF Edition for FREE

Download Greater Diversity News Digital PDF Edition for FREE

FREE Full PDF Edition includes stories not featured on the website

The FREE Full PDF Edition includes stories not featured on the website. No paper, no hasel, read on your laptop or mobile devices. 

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Restorative Justice Invites a Fundamental Shift in the Way We Think About Justice

Written by Featured Organization on 01 October 2010.

Restorative justiceIn the last few decades, different programs have arisen out of a profound, virtually universal frustration with the dysfunction of our justice system. What distinguishes restorative justice from all these programs is that it is not a program.

It is a theory of justice which challenges the fundamental assumptions in the dominant discourse about justice.

 

What are the dominant assumptions?
If you commit a crime, you incur a debt to society, you create an imbalance in the scales of justice. The only way to pay back the debt and re-balance the scales is to be given your just deserts. This is based upon the Roman, Justinian notion of “to each his due”. If you caused someone to suffer, you will be caused to suffer. If you have inflicted pain upon someone, pain will be inflicted upon you. Pain, suffering, isolation, deprivation, even death are often viewed as the only way to make right the wrong, the only way to pay back the debt and the only way to re-balance the scales.

In this sense, dominant justice may be viewed as officially-sanctioned vengeance. Instead of the person harmed who retaliates, it is our justice system that strikes back on the victim’s behalf. Our criminal justice system tends to focus on determining blame and administering pain – judging and sentencing. The retributive essence of our current system has spawned the highest absolute and per capita incarceration rates in the history of the world. Scholars speak of how it has “prisonized” the entire North American landscape. We see this phenomenon very clearly in our urban schools which are beginning to look and function more like jailhouses than schoolhouses.

However, in the last three decades, humanity has been making has been making an historic shift from a justice as harming to a justice as healing. From a retributive justice to a restorative justice.

Our criminal justice system asks these three questions:

1. What law was broken?
2. Who broke it?
3. What punishment is warranted?

Restorative justice asks an entirely different set of questions:

1. Who was harmed?
2. What are the needs and responsibilities of all affected?
3. How do all affected parties together address needs and repair harm?

An emerging approach to justice rooted in indigenous cultures, restorative justice is reparative, inclusive, and balanced. It emphasizes:

1. Repairing harm
2. Inviting all affected to dialogue together to figure out how to do so
3. Giving equal attention to community safety, victim’s needs, and offender accountability and growth

Restorative Justice has diverse applications. It may be applied to address conflict in families, schools, communities, workplace, the justice system, and to even to address mass social conflict (such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa ).

For more information about restorative justice, see www.restorativejustice.org

Effectiveness

Though contemporary restorative justice began only about thirty years ago, the effectiveness of these practices in reducing violence, incarceration, recidivism, and suspensions and expulsions in schools is increasingly being documented. It is recognized as a model in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Model Programs Guide.[1]

A meta-analysis of all restorative justice research written in English, Restorative Justice: The Evidence, concluded in at least two trials, that when used as a diversion, restorative justice reduced violent re-offending, victim’s desire for revenge, and costs.[2] A 2007 University of Wisconsin study found that Barron County’s restorative justice program led to significant declines in youth violence, arrests, crime, and recidivism. Five years after the program began, violent juvenile offenses decreased almost 49%. Overall juvenile arrest rates decreased almost 45%.[3]

New Zealand ’s juvenile justice system adopted a nation-wide, family-focused restorative approach in 1989, and today, juvenile incarceration is virtually obsolete for crimes other than homicides. 70% of youth participants have no further contacts with the justice system.[4] Youth detention facilities are being shut down.[5] Closer to home, a Sonoma County diversion program touts a 10% rate of re-offending, 90% plan completion rates, and over 90% victim satisfaction with the process.[6] An in-custody adult restorative justice program in San Bruno County showed a decrease in violent re-offending by 82.6% after 16 weeks of participation.[7]

RJOY’s own program in West Oakland’s Cole Middle School eliminated violence and expulsions and reduced the rate of suspensions by more than 75%. In 2009, the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) published Findings from Schools Implementing Restorative Practices [8] which highlighted outcomes from six schools located in communities in Pennsylvania that range from urban to rural and impoverished to middle class. As at Cole Middle School , all six schools in this study witnessed significant drops in suspensions, expulsions, disruptive behavior, reoffending, violence and discipline referrals generally. A 9 minute video about the dramatic impact of restorative practices at one of the schools in the study may be found at  http://www.iirp.org/westphilahigh/


1 See www.dsgonline.com/mpg2.5/restorative.htm
2 See www.smith-institute.org.uk/pdfs/RJ_full_report.pdf)
3 See www.bcrjp.org/Articles/justice_program_linked_with_drop.htm
4 See www.cyf.govt.nz/documents/mike_doolan_presentation.pdf
5 The Dept. of Child, Youth and Family Services maintains about 75 beds today for Youth Justice, compared to the more than 1000 beds available in the 1980’s. http://www.judgesandmagistrates.org/bec.htm
www.restorativeresources.org/evidence.html
jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/27/2/143
http://www.realjustice.org/pdf/IIRP-Improving-School-Climate.pdf, retrieved May 14, 2010



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