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NOTE: Some of what follows is excerpted from Chapter One of Justice That Transforms: Volume 1
WN: From a Canadian vantage point, Dr. Herman Bianchi, a Dutch criminologist, is one of the three “grandfathers” (if one must use that term) chronologically of Restorative Justice, together with Mark Yantzi and Dave Worth, the first and longstanding Restorative Justice practitioners/theorists in Canada. Though the term predates all three, and other related practices were taking place in the United States and elsewhere. There are issues in any event about referring to “Restorative Justice” as though a unified “movement” with a single “grandfather” or “grandmother.”
Contemporary Western Restorative Justice theory and practice were not first developed by Americans, though they have greatly contributed to its worldwide expansion. In particular Howard Zehr’s name stands out in the earlier and subsequent years; but not as theory originator, or first practitioner. A hagiographic myth assigns the term “grandfather” to one person, when there is in fact no such.
There had been numerous previous publications in Dutch by Dr. Bianchi. One such was the Restorative Justice classic, Justice As Sanctuary, which had been published in Dutch (Gerechtigheid als Vrijplaats) in 1985, and was eventually translated into English in 1994 through American criminologist Harold Pepinsky. A year later Dr. Bianchi co-edited Abolitionism: Towards a Non-Repressive Approach Towards Crime. My contribution was the final chapter seen here. The idea of “paradigm shift” is borrowed from Howard Zehr, in turn from Thomas Kuhn.1
Bianchi’s writings have seldom received their rightful due in relation to Restorative Justice theory. He lent his scholarly weight as well all through the early years of Restorative Justice to “The International Conference on Penal Abolition (ICOPA)”—see more below.
Dan Van Ness’ and Karen Heetderks Strong’s 1998 seminal Restoring Justice was comprehensive in its historically contextualizing Restorative Justice, and more encompassing than Zehr’s 1990 Changing Lenses. Dan’s impact on the early years of development was huge. His was also the first major website (under Justice Fellowship, an arm of Prison Fellowship), and it posted synopses of eventually thousands of resources.
Years ago I read about two persons on a crowded subway train in New York, where one happened to overhear the other say “Frodo” in conversation with someone else. The story goes that he literally dove across the sea of people, exclaiming, “You’re reading Tolkien too?!” In the early years of Restorative Justice, to hear someone in the criminal justice system use that term became a kind of instant bonding. Then the term began to appear in programs of criminal justice gatherings. And finally, emblazoned boldly on their sides were government-funded Restorative Justice “ocean liners” programs, when until then we few had to be content with small speedboats to spread the news—often enough early on running out of gas, then eventually at times initially swamped by the new ocean-going vessels . . .
And though there are other claimants,2 Mark Yantzi’s and David Worth’s “Kitchener Experiment/The Elmira Case” in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada became the most replicated program model, arguably the first.3
There were also significant theoretical contributions and practices from Canadian aboriginal communities that take Restorative Justice back millennia—likewise in indigenous cultures worldwide—though again Dr. Richards negates ahistorical romanticizing about the claimed complete absence of retributive justice elements in those ancient-to-modern cultures. Canadians Crown Attorney Rupert Ross and Judge Barry Stuart are key early theorists and practitioners in this area.
A year after Zehr’s book appeared,4 Harold Pepinsky and Richard Quinney edited and published Criminology As Peacemaking (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1991.), directly challenging the entire warmaking terminology and practice in criminal justice,5 calling alternatively for commitment to “make peace with crime and criminals [which absence] is reflected in the paucity of our daily personal relations, where we live by domination and discipline, where forgiveness and mercy are seen as naïve surrender to victimization. The essays in this volume propose peacemaking as an effective alternative to the ‘war’ on crime. They range from studies of the intellectual roots of the peacemaking tradition to concrete examples of peacemaking in the community, with special attention to feminist peacemmaking traditions and women’s experience.”6
It was from that amazing book that I learned ever after to describe Restorative Justice at its simplest to be a peacemaking, not a warmaking response to crime—one quite expandable to all brokenness in human and international relationships. Pepinsky and Quinney belong to the panoply of early Restorative Justice “grandfathers.” They also connected this strand to the wider peace movements historically and around the world.
One chapter below, “Is There a Place for Dreaming?,” picks up on the international implications of Restorative Justice, and was a presentation based on it that was initially made at St. Paul University in September 2007. I was the first “Scholar in Residence” at the Conflict Studies Department there, thanks to an invitation from Professor Vern Redekop. I spent a delightful five months of research and writing.
Another early influence were the many writings of Nils Christie. I first learned of this remarkable Norwegian criminologist through a program in 1993 by CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Commission) Ideas Renaissance Man and broadcaster David Cayley, entitled: “Crime Control as Industry.” I wrote at the time to CBC Ideas to express my gratitude for the outstanding three-hour set of programs. I had already read by then Dr. Christie’s classic “Conflicts as Property,” and his 1981 Limits to Pain. He continued to pen many significant works all within the Restorative Justice purview. Perhaps his most notable publication was the same title as Cayley’s broadcast: Crime Control as Industry: Towards Gulags, Western Style?—in which he posited that not crime, but crime control is the real societal danger in Western democracies.7 With subsequent editions, Dr. Christie removed the question mark . . . He was also a prison/penal abolitionist (see below).
David Cayley as well, through numerous CBC Ideas broadcasts about crime and punishment issues, and a significant book publication, The Expanding Prison: The Crisis in Crime and Punishment and the Search for Alternatives, was an early Canadian promoter of Restorative Justice. Criminologist Liz Elliott told me that Cayley’s book was one of the finest she had ever read in the field. Though David was not a criminologist! Even better for me: since my 1993 correspondence with him in response to the Nils Christie broadcast, he has been a friend.
Also, though more tangentially, René Girard should be mentioned as significantly influencing early Restorative Justice theory, both over against notions of retributive justice, and more generally in helping early practitioners wrestle with generic violence in every culture, and the way out. Vern Redekop noted above, another early Restorative Justice theorist who is today a worldwide foremost scholar on conflict studies, peacemaking, and René Girard, authored the book most widely distributed of 14 “New Perspectives on Crime and Justice: Mennonite Central Committee Occasional Papers, 1984–1994,8 edited by Dave Worth, Howard Zehr and me. It was entitled Scapegoats, the Bible, and Criminal Justice: Interacting with René Girard. Girard himself gave his imprimatur to this publication.
Finally, prison abolitionism was also significant in influencing early Restorative Justice theory and practice. “The International Conference on Penal Abolition (ICOPA—which originally used the word “Prison” in place of later “Penal”) had its first Conference in 1983 in Toronto, which I attended—and several others. It was organized by Ruth Morris, yet another earlier theorist and practitioner. She was also a good friend and one of my five most significant mentors in Restorative Justice/Transformative Justice. This latter was Ruth’s preferred term, because “Restorative” was not radical enough peacemaking/abolitionism. Three of the other significant women mentors were Liz Elliott, Claire Culhane, and Wilma Derksen. They were/are fearless and outspoken women; in their various ways “grandmothers” of Restorative Justice.
Fair to say that, a little like sending out wedding invitations, once begun mentioning early practitioners and theorists, variously “grandfathers/grandmothers” of Restorative Justice, it is hard to know where to stop adding names—which in this highly diverse and communitarian field is as it should be.
I make no claim therefore to have just supplied an “authoritative” list. No one can, given the subjectivity of the “authority,” diversity of the field, and time-frame chosen.
Where I am insistent due to the longstanding attribution to one supposed “grandfather” figure, Howard Zehr, given as well his lack of connection/affirmation to and of most mentioned above, and want of collegiality for some of us in Canada in the early years, is in this: the notion of a single representative “grandfather” of a “unified movement” is unfounded.
Zehr at times directly critiqued this author’s writings by telling me one does not attract bees with vinegar . . . I had already been writing and publishing, usually for MCCC, on Restorative Justice since 1977, and had in the early 1980s been turned down by MCCC in a proposal that I publish a book on Restorative Justice—MCCC felt it could not fund a six-month sabbatical for our family to allow me to complete such a project.
My longstanding commentary on the “bees” comment has been in accord with Ruth Morris’ watchword response to “Restorative Justice” as promulgated back then by Zehr and others of similar ilk: “Not Enough!” (See the essay by that title elsewhere on this site, and in Justice That Transforms: Volume One.) Ruth’s vision was not at the time in line with Zehr’s, though he liked to imagine so: hers was far more trenchant and grand—and controversial!9
Ruth would say, as do I, that a Restorative Justice out mainly to attract “bees” and primarily with honey—all sweetness and light— creates mainly a “B”-Grade Restorative Justice, one better than retributive justice to be sure, but seriously lacking in vigorous fulsome challenge to what Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day repeatedly dubbed “the dirty rotten system,” of which Western criminal justice was a key component. To further play with words, Zehr’s preference then for “B-Grade” was in fact to “D-Grade” the revolutionary potential of what Restorative Justice promised; a preference perhaps residual function of his Mennonite heritage that privileged being die Stillen im Lande—the Quiet in the Land.10 Western systems of justice have always been infected with brutal Empire/colonization and control/“pacification” motifs. In my retirement years, I have devoted a website (waynenorthey.com) to the Gospel as Counter-Narrative to Empire—the Ultimate Dirty Rotten System. There is much on the site in support of such a thesis.
One should not therefore be so much out trying to attract “B(-Grade)s,” one should instead be creatively challenging the very “WASPS” that run brutal justice systems . . . to as it were (for starters) repent, apologize11make amends, and “sin” no more! “WASP” in Canada is in fact an acronym for the “White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant” Establishment—historically the very originators and guardians of such stingingly harmful systems throughout the colonized world. (Not that all working within such systems are necessarily directly caught up in their evil—though ineluctably tainted.)
What is needed, Amos (5:24), Dorothy Day, Ruth Morris, Martin Luther King Jr. and a host of prophetic saints thunderously call for, is rigorously radical transformation of that dirty rotten system! Zehr’s approach to Restorative Justice early on lacked the radical intellectual rigor the best of the Christian (and beyond—think Gandhi) prophetic tradition exhibits. What is wanted is for starters a “ . . . who-can-but-prophesy?—Amos” measured diatribe against the System, such as captured brilliantly in Canadian singer Bruce Cockburn’s “Lovers in a Dangerous Time”: gotta kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight.
I go into greater detail about Restorative Justice intellectual currents ignored by Zehr, at least those swirling in the early formative years in Canada, in Northey, Justice That Transforms: Volume Two, 271–274.
Reconciliation of enmities is the heart of the Gospel message and Christian mission–and of Restorative Justice! It is a peacemaking, not warmaking, response to crime.
Restorative Justice has obviously therefore profound biblical roots12. In Western culture, “It is an irony of history”, claims Religious Studies professor James Williams, “that the very source that first disclosed the viewpoint and plight of the victim is pilloried in the name of various forms of criticism… However, it is in the Western world that the affirmation of ‘otherness,’ especially as known through the victim, has emerged. And its roots sink deeply into the Bible as transmitted in the Jewish and Christian traditions… the standpoint of the victim is [the West’s] unique and chief biblical inheritance. It can be appropriated creatively and ethically only if the inner dynamic of the biblical texts and traditions is understood and appreciated. The Bible is the first and main source for women’s rights, racial justice, and any kind of moral transformation.13 The Bible is also the only creative basis for interrogating the tradition and the biblical texts (James Williams, “King as Servant Sacrifice as Service: Gospel Transformations”, Violence Renounced: René Girard, Biblical Studies, and Peacemaking, Telford, Pa.; Pandora Press; Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 2000, pp. 195 & 196)
RJ World 2020 eConference was a 17-day (extended 7 days beyond August 31) online showcase of more than 100 inspiring presenters from around the world – facilitators / practitioners / teachers / researchers / artists – who are passionate about sharing insights and ideas in the realm of restorative justice and restorative practices in all sectors.
It drew 100 presenters from 20 c0untries, and 700 registrants from 50 countries.
For general information please click on: RJWorld eConference.
A complete list of of speakers with brief biographies, and their viewable presentations may be accessed by clicking on RJWorld eConference 2020 Speakers.
Highlighted immediately below is the presentation made with David Milgaard, who spent 23 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit. Another presentation made is further highlighted below about the gripping story of my friend, Robbie Robidoux.
The Conference was an event for workers, volunteers, and those interested anywhere in the Restorative/Transformative Justice/Justice fields. It drew 100 presenters from 20 c0untries, 700 registrants from 50 countries.
For general information please click on: RJWorld eConference
A complete list of of speakers with brief biographies, and their viewable presentations may be accessed by clicking on RJWorld eConference 2020 Speakers.
The video presented at the Conference is below, done over Zoom (David in Cochrane Alberta, I in Agassiz BC):
Please also see below a brief video that was part of a collage of farewells from presenters at the eConference. It was shown August 31, 2020.
That little novel mediation program (Victim Offender Reconciliation Project–VORP–was first dubbed a “Project” due to its initial experimental nature) in response to crime, mentioned in the video with David–begun in Kitchener 1975, of which I became second Director in 1977–significantly helped put Restorative Justice on the World Map! It’s been a personal great journey ever since!
Finally: below is the 19-minute video of all 11 farewells. Very powerful!
Please view as well a Zoom discussion, October 6, 2020, with host Dr. Brad Jersak.
IRPJ.org (Institute for Religion, Peace & Justice) presents an interview with Wayne Northey (host: Brad Jersak) highlighting the contrast between Western criminal justice as retributive pain-delivery and the inclusive, restorative, community justice that more effectively serves those who offend, those they’ve harmed, and the communities in which they live.
Transcript: IRPJ Q & A with Brad Jersak & Wayne Northey
Much of this material was reworked, added to and published March 2021, in The Kenarchy Journal: a resource for a politics of love, Volume Two.((Restorative Justice: Peacemaking Not Warmaking; Transformative Justice: Penal Abolitionism Not Prison Reform))
Please also see the following video:
Our friendship goes back to 1983 when I met Robbie at Oakalla Prison (South Wing), Burnaby British Columbia Canada. His story is riveting. You may listen to or view these links:
- Audio interview I with Professor Curt Griffiths, Simon Fraser University, about Robidoux’ story and again (Audio interview II)
- Four Days in April – CBC Documentary, September 28, 2012: John Chipman’s documentary on the riot and hostage-taking at Kingston Penitentiary in 1971; an interview with prison ombudsman Howard Sapers about the legacy of the riot, and how conditions today compare.
- Tales From KP, CBC Doc Zone (video) September 19, 2013: Stories of some of the most carefully guarded secrets of Kingston Penitentiary with some of the most unlikely characters—on both sides of the law!
- a video done for the RJWorld eConference, August 22 – 31, 2020:
The first group highlighted from the United States reached out to this site to ask that a link be shared. A second group has also asked that we post a link. They are highlighted below, and direct people across America to where to go for help.
The first link directs people similarly in Canada.
I’m in no position to endorse any of these resources.
* Opioid Resources Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
* Guide to Low Cost or Free Drug Rehab Options (United States)
* Carla Vista: Sober Living Homes (United States)
* Financial Assistance for Those Recovering From Addiction (United States)
- THE EFFECTS OF PRISON VISITATION ON OFFENDER RECIDIVISM
- The Role of Family and Pro-Social Relationships in Reducing Recidivism
- Can Faith-Based Correctional Programs Work? An Outcome Evaluation of the InnerChange Freedom Initiative in Minnesota
- Prison Fellowship International
- Justice Reflections
- Restorative Justice Consortium
- Five 8 Support for Ex-Offenders
- Baraza Peace Courts: ensuring fair and non-punitive justice in DRC by Alana Poole
- International CURE – Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants
- Catholic Charities Justice Services of British Columbia (CCJS – BC)
- Smart Justice Network of Canada/Réseau pour une justice éclairéé au Canada
- Mennonite Central Committee Canada Restorative Justice
- The Church Council on Justice and Corrections
- Pathways To Freedom Ministries
- Catholic Connections in Restorative Justice
- Correctional Service of Canada Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice: Theological/Philosophical
- The Cross: God’s Peace Work – Towards a Restorative Peacemaking Understanding of the Atonement by Wayne Northey
- A Brief Look At Restorative Justice by Wayne Northey
- Biblical Bases for Restorative Justice – Ted Grimsrud
- Healing Justice – Ted Grimsrud
- Call For a Church Apology Vis À Vis Crime and Punishment by Wayne Northey
- The Two Greatest Commandments and Prison Ministry by Wayne Northey
- War, Police and Prisons: Cross-Examining State-Sanctioned Violence by Wayne Northey
- Annalise Acorn’s “Compulsory Compassion” — Book Review by Wayne Northey
- The Sex Offender as Scapegoat – by Hugh Kirkegaard and Wayne Northey
- Justice That Restores – Book Review by Wayne Northey
- Restorative Justice and Spirituality by Wayne Northey
- Restorative Justice and Prison Visitation by Wayne Northey
- Beyond Retribution: A New Testament Vision for Justice, Crime, and Punishment – Book Review by Wayne Northey
- God’s Just Vengeance: Crime, Violence and the Rhetoric of Salvation – Book Review by Wayne Northey
- No Future Without Forgiveness by Bishop Desmond Tutu – Book Review by Wayne Northey
- A Halting Spiritual Quest, Three Minorities, and Restorative Justice by Wayne Northey
- Transformative Justice Vision and Spirituality (part 1) by Wayne Northey
- Transformative Justice Vision and Spirituality (part 2) by Wayne Northey
- The Fall of the Prison – Book Review by Wayne Northey
- The Expanding Prison – Book Review by Wayne Northey
- A Brief Look at Restorative Justice by Wayne Northey
- The Craft of Forgiveness by Wayne Northey
- Criminal justice system should not separate us
- Restorative Justice: An International Journal (new 2013)
- ANCIENT PRACTICES OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
- ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ to Restorative Justice as a “Mennonite Thing” – Brian R. Grumm
- From Condemnation to Conversion: Seeking restorative justice in the prison system – Stephen J. Pope
Restorative Justice Applied
- A Flawed Compass: A Human Rights Analysis of the Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety
- Canada’s inhumane prison plan – Conrad Black
- Black has unlocked the truth about prisons
- Conrad Black: My prison education
- A Second Chance or a Boot in the Face
- Crime Control as Industry – Review
- Kelly McParland: Stockwell Day’s criminal logic
- Stockwell Day cites ‘alarming’ rise in unreported crime to justify new prisons
- Crime rate falls to lowest level since 1973
- Sound the alarm on Stockwell Day’s statistics
- Drug-Related Violence:Evidence from a Scientific Review
- Tough Justice: Is the Harper Agenda a Phony War on Crime?
- Ombudsman questions cost of government’s crime agenda
- Tory agenda wreaking havoc on prisons: watchdog
- Getting tough on crime is toughest on the taxpayer
- Canada’s prisons not ready for inmate surge: Federal report
- Prison reform needed to prevent in-custody deaths: ombudsman
- Prison ‘double-bunking’ risks violence, ombudsman says
- CCJC Prophetic Community Education
- CCJC Witnessing on Public Policy
- Through a glass, darkly
- Unlocking America
- Criminally Unjust: Why America’s prison policy needs repair
- Strange Bedfellows
- UNITED STATES HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN CORRECTIONAL PRACTICES
- Prisons, Peace, and Compassion Conference, May 20 – 22, 2011
- Women and the Law & Order Agenda
- Keep Ex-Prisoner Crime-Free 6 Months At Least, Will Likely Remain So – Study
- The Sex Offender as Scapegoat: Vigilante Violence and a Faith Community Response
- Shannon Moroney’s Story: How we as a society and the media are quick to extend guilt to the families of the guilty
- Rough justice in America: Too many laws, too many prisoners – Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little
- Everybody does it!: crime by the public – This is the first book to explore in detail crime committed by the general public. “I wanted to take issue with the hypocrisy displayed by many citizens who routinely condemn what they consider to be our leniency towards convicted criminals, while they justify their own illegalities.” (author)
- From Condemnation to Conversion: Seeking restorative justice in the prison system
- Points of Justice – By Ronald W. Nikkel
- The Better Angels (on CoSA)
- Minding The Monster on CoSA)
Responses to the 2011 Omnibus Bill C-10, “Safe Streets and Communities Act”, and similar legislation
- Fear-Driven Policy: Ottawa’s harsh new penal proposals won’t make us safer, just poorer—and less humane. * Federal legislation tough on young criminals – “this strategy doesn’t work”
- Lawyers attack Harper’s tough-on-crime agenda * Crime and Public: CBC’s ‘The Current” on tough-on-crime policy * Prison culture exposed: War on Drugs Destructive * Penal Populism: The politicization of crime under Harper – The Harper Conservatives’ reverence for gain and disdain of evidence helped turn a justice system for the people into an enemy of the people. * The Fear Factor:Stephen Harper’s “Tough on Crime” Agenda – by Paula Mallea * Texas conservatives reject Harper’s crime plan: ‘Been there; done that; didn’t work,’ say Texas crime-fighters * American conservatives lead the charge on reducing incarceration and reducing crime. * Ian Mulgrew: Chronic offenders need treatment, not incarceration, police chief says ‘Punitive approach’ does not get at root causes of criminal activity: report
- Study: Prevention Fights Crime Better Than Jail
- Tough on crime will likely lead to more crime, bigger deficit: report
- The Evidence is Clear: Bill C-10 Will Result in Expensive, Ineffective Sentencing
- A Meaner Canada : Junk Politics and the Omnibus Crime Bill
- What’s Wrong With Harper’s Omnibus Crime Bill
- Salvaging a Faulty Crime Bill
- Incarceration and Crime: A Complex Relationship
- New crime bill good for lawyers – “despite the almost universal condemnation of the approach.”
- Singer/songwriter Steve Bell’s Open Letter to Stephen Harper Regarding Omnibus Crime Bill C-10
- Targeting Mrs. B – government crime bills are “unjust, ineffective and ultimately immoral legislation designed for base political purposes.”
- Quebec will refuse to pay for omnibus crime bill – “What you’ve got is a Band-Aid solution here, you’re not curing anything.” – Quebec’s justice minister
- N.L. joins Ontario, Quebec in criticism of crime bill – [Justice Minister] Collins said he has never seen a study that favours more jail time as a way to cut rates of reoffence and improve public safety.”
- New crime bill hazardous to children
- Canadian Quakers’ Submission on Bill C-10, Safe Streets and Communities Act – “Reject policies that aim mainly at punishment…”
- Mennonite Central Committee Canada: Advocate for change: Bill C-10
- Church Council on Justice and Corrections to “Standing Committee on Finance”
- Bill C-10, The Omnibus Crime Bill: Unwise, Unjust, Unconstitutional
- BC, Stand Up For Canadian Justice
- Tough-on-crime bill toughest on taxpayers
- Kevin Libin: Provinces will pay dearly for Tory crime bill
- Steve Sullivan: Omnibus crime bill ignores the true victims
- Scott Stinson: Tory crime bill launches latest big federalism fight
- Focus on reintegrating inmates into society, mother of murdered girl tells MPs
- Sex abuse researchers tout rehab, not prison
- Stop the Crime Bill: We can reach millions through our local papers
- 10 reasons to oppose Bill C-10 – by Trinda L. Ernst, president of the Canadian Bar Association. “It’s an approach that will make us less safe, less secure, and ultimately, less Canadian.”
- Jails don’t keep people out of jail: “The financial cost of implementing effective, integrated systems pales in comparison to the billions it costs to build and operate new prisons… Criminal justice legislation that increases prison populations while draining resources from community programs in mental health, education, child poverty and social services makes absolutely no sense.”
- Harper’s crime bill misguided, N.S. experts say: Omnibus legislation doesn’t match statistical evidence: lawyer
- Federal crime legislation casts ‘dark shadow’ on principles of justice, Ontario judge says
- About A Catholic Priest and a Young Boy
- Friends of Dismas
- Cons Helping Cons
- The Empathic Civilisation
- God’s Chisel [from September 2010 M2/W2 Volunteer Training]
- Alcohol Sensitive Gene Discovered
- Why Evangelicals Hate Jesus
- Bill Maher: If You Celebrated Bin Laden’s Death, You’re Not Really A Christian
- The Tea Party and Religion
- Charter for Compassion
- Clarion Journal
- The Big Chill: Basic freedoms of speech and advocacy are now under siege in Canada
- Serving Life
- Worldwide Spread Compassion Day – October 8, 2011
- Jail death of mentally ill teen was preventable, inquest told
- Crime rate falls to lowest level since 1973
- Prison issues: Lack of care for people with mental illness; Christian-based community intervention is highly effective; War on drugs is crime-producing and a failure
- More God, Less Crime?
- Incarceration in the United States – Canada’s Future?
- Making Ministers of Inmates
- They Died in Vain; Deal With It
- I do not normally post petitions, but… please “Support the Social Protection Floor Initiative”
- New social impact bond targets the greater good
- Sentence Severity and Crime: Accepting the Null Hypothesis – “…sentence severity has no effect on the level of crime in society.”
- Deterrence in Criminal Justice: Evaluating Certainty vs. Severity of Punishment – “Based upon the existing evidence, both crime and imprisonment can be simultaneously reduced if policy-makers reconsider their overreliance on severity based policies such as long prison sentences (from the “Conclusion”).”
- Smart Justice
- New civilian agency to probe police incidents in B.C.
- Of turned leaves and pages – re. Liz Elliott, by a prisoner
- Education vs. Incarceration – More money must go to schools than to prisons before high-crime neighborhoods can truly be reformed. (from the U.S.)
- The Caging of America: Why do we lock up so many people? – by Adam Gopnik January 30, 2012
- Prison Uncensored – The Truth Behind the Bars: What “They” Don’t Want You To Know
- Canadian Chaplains — Martin E. Marty
- The Harper Doctrine: Once a Criminal, Always a Criminal – BY EDWARD L. GREENSPAN AND ANTHONY N. DOOB (Walrus Magazine September 2012)
- Ashley Smith Case & Mental Health in Canadian Prisons
- Help from Sesame Street for “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration”
- People Recover – Educational Comic Book: Co-Occurring Disorders
- British Columbia Criminal Justice Association newsletter
- Annual Report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator 2013-2014
- Tales from KP (Kingston Penitentiary – CBC Doc Zone)
- The American Legal System: A Ball Game Played by Lawyers and Jurists: The Why of Not Doing the Right Thing
- Editorial: Questioning our assent to militarism [by extension to “war on crime” – National Catholic Reporter]
- Bishops’ support for wars underpins collection for military archdiocese [National Catholic Reporter]
- Four Days in April: Documentary
- Tales From KP: CBC Doc Zone
- Wealth Inequality in America
- Enforce them, but these laws are an ass
- ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ to Restorative Justice as a “Mennonite Thing”
- Can Faith-Based Correctional Programs Work? An Outcome Evaluation of the InnerChange Freedom Initiative in Minnesota
New Perspectives on Crime and Justice – Mennonite Central Committee Occasional Papers, 1984 – 1994, Editors: Howard Zehr, Dave Worth, Wayne Northey
NOTE: The essays below are amongst the earliest from Mennonite circles (or any other circles: see Restorative Justice: Ideas, Values, Debates) on Restorative Justice. The three editors were variously Directors of Victim Offender Ministries (VOM) Mennonite Central Committee Canada (Dave Worth and I), and Director of the US Office of Criminal Justice. There is no extant copyright, so please copy and use at will.
- Kuhn, Thomas. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: The University of Chicago, 1962 and 1970.
- See Richards, Kelly. “Exploring the History of the Restorative Justice Movement.” Paper presented at the “5th International Conference on Conferencing & Circles,” organized by the International Institute for Restorative Practices, August 5–7, 2004, Vancouver. http://restorativejustice.org/rj-library/exploring-the-history-of-the-restorative-justice-movement/5020/; and her PhD thesis, “‘Rewriting history’: Towards a Genealogy of ‘restorative justice.’ ” PhD diss., Western Sydney University, 2007; found online here: https://eprints.qut.edu.au/128165/.that delve into the history in greater detail. Suffice it to say: Richards demonstrates that a somewhat Restorative Justice myth is that there was ever any particular coherence that might evoke legitimate use of the term “movement.” Though use of mediation is the primary such contender.
- See: Peachey, Peachey, Dean. “The Kitchener Experiment.” In Mediation and Criminal Justice: Victims, Offenders and Community. Martin Wright and Burt Galaway, eds. Newbury Park: Sage, 1989; see also the film telling the story: https://cjiwr.com/the-elmira-case/; and Nyp, Gary. Pioneers of Peace: the History of Community Justice Initiatives Waterloo Region, 1974–2004. Kitchener: Community Justice Initiatives, 2004.
- Some call it “seminal” and a “classic.” It was, as argued below, also narrowly focussed.
- See also Pepinsky’s Peacemaking: Reflections of a Radical Criminologist (Criminology as Peacemaking website.)
- See again Pepinsky’s website.
- Karl Menninger brilliantly argued similarly in The Crime of Punishment, New York: Penguin, 1966/1977.)
- See below or here: Scapegoats, the Bible, and Criminal Justice: Interacting with René Girard .
- Ruth at least also indicated she valued my writings. It was Dave Worth my predecessor who had on my behalf put forward to MCCC the book-writing proposal. After it was turned down, Dave kept urging me to nonetheless publish. Well Dave, at long last: here are some . . . Thanks so much for the prodding.
- But see “From ‘die Stillen im Lande’ to ‘Getting in the Way’: A Theology for Conscientious Objection and Engagement” by Canadian Mennonite theologian Thomas Yoder Neufeld.
- Please see Northey, “Call For a Church Apology”
- Though the movement that began officially within the criminal justice jurisdiction of Kitchener Ontario out of a Mennonite peacemaking perspective, at times is scrubbed clean by secular interpreters of the Christian theology at its base.
This is an intellectual conundrum: understandably, in a multicultural/multireligious world, no one “religion” should dominate the public discourse. My participation in The Spiritual Roots of Restorative Justice project points resoundingly to that. Yet, it is difficult for non-Christian thinkers to “enter into” the theological dynamic that gave rise to Restorative Justice–something uniquely faith-centred. This is not a critique of non-Christian involvement; rather a positing of, as said, an intellectual enigma.
Theologian Charles Bellinger, wrestling with this very issue on a larger canvass, states in The Genealogy of Violence: Reflections on Creation, Freedom, and Evil: (My book review is here.)
I suggest that the closure to transcendence inherent in methodological atheism [of contemporary social science in the Academy] prevents its theorists from fully understanding the phenomenon they are seeking to grasp. Concerning the religious vision of the relationship between humanity and its Creator, they presuppose that ‘we have no need of that hypothesis.’ (p. 96).
Secular theorists, by accepting “the lid placed on thought by the methodological atheism of social science”, by refusing to permit “the horizon [to be] truly opened up to comprehend the divine source of life” (p. 96) are unable to achieve satisfactory explanation of evil because:
The most basic root of violence is the alienation of human beings from their Creator; thus, non-theological ‘explanations’ of violence are actually caught up in and expressive of the same atmosphere of human alienation from God out of which violence arises. [A footnote adds that secular social philosophy “is complicit with an ‘ontology of violence,’ a reading of the world which assumes the priority of force and tells how this force is best managed and confined by counter-force.”]
As such, they are unable to master their subject: the ‘explanations’ are themselves trapped in the tragedy of human history.(p. 96, italics in original)
Secular theorists of violence, in other words, says Bellinger, are like the little girl looking for a coin under the street lamp “because there is more light there” than where the coin was really lost further up the street. The author refers to the present-day intellectuals’ flight from God as embrace of a
. . . shrunken, contracted self, . . . in alienation from God, [that] is at the same time the root of violent actions and also the root of the inability of modern intellectuals to truly understand human behaviour (p. 97)
This is reminiscent of Albert Camus’ assertion that he would acknowledge all explanations of evil but the transcendent; or (so commented Karl Barth) Jean Paul Sartre’s brave atheistic existentialist staring down of evil, so imagined, when the real McCoy leers over his shoulder at the charade of the papier mâché evil he in fact engages.
- See on this for example: Inventing the Individual: The Origins Of Western Liberalism, that argues,
The roots of liberalism – belief in individual liberty, in the fundamental moral equality of individuals, that equality should be the basis of a legal system and that only a representative form of government is fitting for such a society – all these, Siedentop argues, were pioneered by Christian thinkers of the Middle Ages, who drew on the moral revolution carried out by the early church. It was the arguments of canon lawyers, theologians and philosophers from the eleventh to the fourteenth century, rather than the Renaissance, that laid the foundation for liberal democracy.–emphasis added
I’m inclined to agree with Bellinger. Towering caveat though: If this is embraced with even a hint of triumphalism, then all is lost before even begun.