Criminal Justice 2008

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What is restorative justice?

Poll

Question of the week

How much do you agree with imprisoning offenders for theft offences?
Very much - prison is an effective response to theft offences.
Somewhat - imprisonment might have short-term positive effects, but doesn't solve the problem on the long run.
Not at all - with mass imprisonment we just make this problem more serious, reintegration of offenders become even more difficult, not to mention the high costs of prisons that need to be paid by the citizens.

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Partners and Sponsors:

          With financial support from the Criminal Justice Programme of the European Commission, Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security

The MEREPS Project's translating partner is the Afford Translations and Interpreting Ltd.

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Case studies

The aim of the „Case Studies” menu is to collect the interesting case studies of the MEREPS Project. Along a project as grand as MEREPS, case studies that are interesting for the professionals as well as the public, are bound to come up. Until they do, however, this menu will cover some of our partner’s case studies (with their approval of course).
We decided to do this, so the importance, and different effects of the restorative practices applied in the case of the most serious crimes can be shown through practical examples.

2011. 12. 17

In 1980 at the age of 14, TJ Leyden became a neo-Nazi skinhead, soon rising through the ranks of Hammerskin Nation, the largest white supremacist transnational organization in America. After 15 years of spreading hate, bigotry...

He has since worked with the Task Force Against Hate at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angles and in 2002 started StrHate Talk Consulting. He is the author of Skinhead Confessions, From Hate...

2011. 12. 12

Sammy Rangel spent most of his early years in mental institutions, foster homes, and detention homes. He embraced violence at the age of 11, joining the Maniac Latin Disciples gang and spending long periods in prison. It wasn’t...

It started aged three when my sister and I were raped by my mother’s brother.  Even as a three year old you know when something terribly wrong is happening to you.  I was also systematically and sadistically abused by my mother and step father throughout my childhood.  My mother’s...

2011. 12. 10

Raphael Rowe met Clare Topcu of Bolton, who described the night in 2009 when burglars broke into her home as she and her nine-year-old son slept.

Mrs Topcu agreed to participate in a restorative justice initiative and meet one of the men responsible. The programme was told that victims of burglary and robbery who take part in these meetings show a 40% reduction in the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder than other victims.

BBC's...

2011. 02. 09

As discussions continued, all animosity was completely dispelled and the conference ended with the milkman offering Matthew a part-time job.

Matthew (16) was walking back from a party in the early hours of the morning with a few friends. It was the first time he had drunk alcohol and he also took regular medication. This combination appeared to have made him highly impulsive and affected his judgement. During their journey home they...

2011. 02. 09

Having both parties to the fight in the adjudication room at the same time helped each prisoner to realise the perception of the other at the time of the fight. It also prevented misunderstandings of what each party had said to...

At HMYOI Huntercombe (a juvenile establishment), restorative conferencing is being used on a one-to-one basis for resolving conflict amongst the young prisoners. Twelve staff were trained in restorative conferencing to do this work.

Two young men were on adjudications for fighting each...

2011. 02. 09

John met with the two young people in the chapel to discuss their feelings about the incident. Sarah said she had been upset at the time, but now wanted to forget about it.

Background information

An incident occurred in which Benita assaulted Sarah. As a result, Benita was immediately moved to another living unit. Sarah said she wanted the police to be informed of the assault, so this was done, but later she changed her mind and decided she no longer...

2011. 02. 09

The victim rated the meeting in terms of satisfaction as ten out of ten. She felt she had achieved a greater understanding, and had been listened to. She was very glad she had come into the prison to meet with them.

A group was run at HMP Bristol in 2004, following the Victim Impact Groups described above. A victim of burglary approached the project through Victim Support. She wanted to meet her offender. Unfortunately, he was no longer in Bristol Prison. However, the restorative justice coordinator met with...

2011. 02. 07

In the following we wish to demonstrate the potential role of restorative meetings in reintegration through the case of an ex-prisoner.

As the Hungarian representative of restorative practices developed by the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), The Community Service Hungary Foundation has participated in the reintegration efforts in prisons several times through training probation officers and providing...

2011. 02. 07

All the meetings I had preparing with the VLO helped me out – it was important to prepare myself as much as possible. Because this was the biggest thing I ever did in my life.

Amanda (the VLO) first offered a visit to Paula, in 2002, to give her information about Lawrence, who had pleaded guilty to murdering her son, Carl. Paula declined this offer, as she felt it was too soon after his death and she was also waiting for the outcome of the trial of two co-defendants, who...

2011. 02. 07

The offender did not apologise, but the agreement included promises that verbal provocations would not be repeated while the offender was in the institution. The agreement was followed up by personal officers and had not been...

Characteristics of the case

This case happened between two adolescent boys. The conflict lasted ten days and kept repeating on a daily basis. It is interesting that the offender was two years younger than the victim, and that his physical constitution was much weaker....

2011. 02. 07

At the beginning of the conference all participants introduced themselves. Elemér did not even remember many of the 40 or so people present, and was able to identify them only by their degree of kinship. Some were even born after...

The case

Elemér was last seen by his family members 13 years ago, handcuffed and sitting in a police car. They did not understand the situation, as he had never done anything more serious than occasional excessive drinking and quarrelling with his partner. It soon turned out that...

2011. 02. 07

SORI: Supporting Offenders through Restoration Inside (Cardiff, UK)

Heather’s house had been burgled 20 years before, and then ten years later a close friend was murdered. She recounted her experience:

Burglary – “My house was burgled when I was away on holiday. A lot of my personal possessions were taken. It felt as though my own private space had...

2011. 02. 07

At the end of the conference, the participants went into the corridor for a smoke and a coffee, and stayed talking informally for over an hour – something unthinkable before the conference.

Two brothers, both heroin users, went into a petrol station one night and forced the three staff to hand over the money from the till. The older brother held a knife to the female manager’s throat and told her that his brother had a gun. One staff member escaped and raised the alarm, and, although...

2010. 10. 11

Ben, 19, a methamphetamine and heroin addict covered with swastika tattoos, imprisoned for badly beating a homosexual, insisted he wasn’t violent and didn’t belong in RSVP “with the niggers, homos and kikes” (Schwartz, 2009, p....

At three weeks, Ben was still so intractable that the staff almost expelled him. Schwartz suggested a meeting between Ben and Damon, an African-American counselor, and a white inmate peer advisor. Just being in the same room with Damon sent Ben into a screaming fit.

Finally, exhausted by...

2010. 09. 27

Peter Woolf was a career criminal and heroin addict when in March 2002 he broke into the home of businessman, Will Riley. As a result Peter received a three year prison sentence. Sometime after the attack, Will was asked if he...

Peter
I can remember a gang fight in London when I was ten years old. It was Hoxton against Essex Road. All the bigger kids got tooled up and there was I, a ten year old kid, wanting to be part of it. So I got a big shovel and nearly pummelled someone to death with it....

2010. 09. 27

Matthew James and his partner, Katy, were burgled twice within a three-month period by the same offender. The couple began to feel ‘under siege’ and unsafe in their own home. When the young man was arrested they were approached...

In May 2002 my girlfriend and I lived in a ground-floor flat in Walthamstow. We’d been there about a year-and-a-half. It was a cosy flat and everything went well at first. Then I got a call at work one morning from my neighbour; someone had broken into the property and it looked as though things...

2010. 09. 27

In November 2008, Margaret Foxley interrupted a burglary in her own home. As she came through the backdoor, the burglar left through the front. He had taken a laptop full of family photos and jewellery commemorating her...

Before the burglary I was happy and healthy and experiencing true contentment. My husband Paul and I adored our jobs; our children Oliver and Jessica were pursuing their career dreams. After the intrusion, however, I didn’t feel safe at home any longer and I felt a real sense of loss. I felt angry...

2010. 09. 27

On August 25 1993, Amy Biehl, an American Fulbright scholar working in South Africa against apartheid, was beaten and stabbed to death in a black township near Cape Town. In 1998 the four youths convicted of her murder were...

Linda
When we heard the terrible news about Amy the whole family was
devastated, but at the same time we wanted to understand the circumstances surrounding her death. Soon afterwards we left for Cape Town.

We took our strength in handling the situation directly from...

2010. 09. 26

On New Year’s Eve 1997, Katy Hutchison’s husband, Bob, was beaten to death while checking on a party being thrown by his neighbor’s son. In the small town of Squamish in British Columbia, a wall of silence soon grew up around the...

Katy Hutchison
Less than an hour after Bob was murdered, I stood in the emergency ward beside his body, overwhelmed by a sense of peace, knowing that wherever Bob was now, it was much safer than the place he had just been. Then I went home to tell my four-year-old twins, Emma and Sam,...

2010. 09. 24

Kathleen Key had been with her husband and father of her four children for 28 years when he was killed in a road accident. The man responsible for his death was immediately arrested and later found guilty of dangerous driving....

On Sunday 6th October, 2006, Darryl had gone to work as normal. He was on his way home when a man in a car did a u-turn on a dual carriageway across moving traffic. My husband was on a bike. It was a head-on collision – instantaneous death.

There was  a knock on the door about...

2010. 09. 23

In 2003 David was released from prison after serving almost 17 years of a life sentence for a double domestic murder. During his prison sentence he spent four years at HMP Grendon Underwood, a prison run along therapeutic lines.

In the 1980’s I was convicted of a double murder. I cannot discuss the details here owing to the rights to anonymity of those still affected. However, I can say that circumstances at that time had conspired to take me to my lowest ebb. Everything I valued in life, I was about to lose. The night...

2010. 09. 23

On May 26, 1997, Collin Ketshabile, an 18 year-old from Soweto, took part in an armed robbery on the Johannesburg home of Gert and Joan van Blerk. Collin was later imprisoned for the crime.

A year later, in a separate incident,...

Joan van Blerk
It was a rainy Monday. I was alone in the house working at the computer when two men suddenly appeared and grabbed my hands. They had knives and a gun so I knew I had to stay calm. They tied me up and ransacked the house taking everything of value. Collin wanted the ring...

2010. 09. 21

Victoria Climbié’s life was short and tragic. Born in the Ivory coast, at the age of seven her parents, Francis and Berthe Climbié , trusted her into the care of a relative, Marie-Therese Kouao, who brought her to England to be...

Initially, when we first heard about Victoria we could not forgive. We are human beings and no human being is perfect. We were tormented by guilt, anguish and hatred, and could not understand how our daughter’s life could have been destroyed by someone who had promised to take care of her. Victoria...