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Introduction The US correctional system does not achieve justice or rehabilitation as constructed. It is outdated and based primarily on earlier beliefs in severe punishment and penitence and does not account for what society has learned about the fairness of sentencing, who is arrested and convicted, what will deter repeat offenses and future crimes and more. Can we can take a lesson from the South African approach to healing their nation post –Apartheid by studying the success of their Truth and Reconciliation approach to healing their wounded society and moving on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_and_Reconciliation_Commission_(South_Africa) What is Restorative Justice? Restorative Justice is a community-based approach to dealing with crime, the effects of crime, and the prevention of crime. Most people who move through the current system of criminal justice do not find it a healing or satisfying experience. Victims often feel re-victimized and their need for justice unmet. People who offend and their families leave more broken and damaged. A Restorative Justice process operates from a belief that the path to justice lies in problem solving and healing rather than punitive isolation. Please visit this link for a summary of the comparison between the 2 systems: http://www.cscsb.org/restorative_justice/retribution_vs_restoration.html More on efforts internationally and in the US to move in this direction: http://restorativejustice.org/#sthash.CEAo7S2P.dpbs https://x78251kcpll2l2t9e46kf96a-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Restorative-Justice-in-the-Criminal-Justice-System.pdf In schools: https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/restorative-justice-overview/ Questions could include: · What should the criminal justice system be doing? Is the goal is to rehabilitate criminals and prevent future crimes? · How have societies throughout history approached transgressions acceptable conduct? · If restorative justice is a worthy approach, how might this work in the US? · Could programs be set up to include victims and families to help determine what work the offender must do to make it right? · How much will current efforts in schools help “prime the pump” for success later? · Will this also help the offender in understanding the scope of the crime and in truly feeling that s/he has righted the wrong in a way not possible by simply serving time in prison? · How might the special interests who benefit from the status quo interfere with attempts at reform? · How can metrics be developed to show the cost savings of such an approach to sway states and the federal government to try this approach? · Will there always be those who are not candidates for this approach? If so, is it because they are just not responsive to either this or the punitive approach and we are not yet able to understand how to reach them or are there other approaches that are working? Eg – organic brain disease, firmly engrained behavior that can’t be shifted, the desire of the offender to remain with his/her “community” (self- identifies as criminal)
This will be a special session, not really a deep dive, but instead a venting session devoted to politics and the philosophical consequences of our current situation.
Deep Dives are a chance for our members to post specific questions or issues on the general topic that are not deserving of a full night discussion, but are still of interest. Some research and backup materials are expected.
This will be a pre-planed topic, with a short framing discussion with embedded questions. Be respectful, and openminded. All views are welcome.