March 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
March 1, 2011 § 1 Comment
This concludes a three part exploration of our what Restoration means in image form. Thank you to the contributing artists in this experiment. The images generate such drastically different views of what restoration means for them. Bellow are the final installments of this project that reflect on the personal idea of restoration from within. The magnificent part of these pieces is that restoration is all of these things and in the field of Restorative Justice people are met with this healing.
Re-finding true worth and purpose after being corrupted, abused or neglected. Re-discovering beauty and life in brokenness.
– Claudette Monroy
February 25, 2011 § 1 Comment
February 25, 2011 § 5 Comments
The ideals of Restorative Justice are that the wrongs of an offender would be made right through the healing of the victim and co-victims [family, friends etc.] This is born out of the idea that ‘crime’ is not an offense to the government law but an offense to the community member offended and the community itself. While these individuals may or may not have known each other the offense has broken their relationship which is infinitely connected to people in their community. Secondly the punishment should be equal to the offense in severity. Simply, crime disrupts life and punitive justice does very little to nothing at all to restore that order. Instead of punitive punishment RJ proposes a more active response from offenders. One that engages them in the repair of their relationship with the victim. It is the responsibility element our current justice system fails to impart on the offenders.
February 23, 2011 § 1 Comment
In the fall of my Junior year I studied under a fascinating professor who’s heart for justice for all marginalized populations was so great. Through his lectures and expertise I became familiar with the method of Restorative Justice. Due my location in a small community with a large Mennonite population which consistently calls for peace and justice, these ideas have taken up strong roots here . Howard Zehr, our resident expert so to speak is a professor at Eastern Mennonite University in the Justice and Peace building graduate program. He teachers Restorative Justice courses pertaining to practical application as well as art interpretation such as the restorative photography class he offers.
From this and other inspirations I have asked my amateur photographer friends to take part in this advocacy effort through image expression. As previously noted in my lost post I asked these artists to consider the term Restoration and to gather images that represent restoration to them.
Each of these images were taken by Emily Wynn [please respect her work, do not extract photos for private use]. They are set in the Middle East and their relevance to the term restoration is uniquely tied to their locality and context.
The young boy is full of life in this photo while he stands in the dirt of a Palestinian refugee camp
The Dandelion is growing through the cracks of ancient Ruins
This waterfall is flowing through desert. It is in the same hills where many of the Psalms were written when David was running for his life, writing words like, “You lead me beside quiet waters. You restore my soul.”
Thanks to Emily Wynn for her contributions.
February 20, 2011 § 1 Comment
When it comes to expressing myself on an issue i find words to fall short. In order to capture the heart behind this call to change I am inviting contributing artists to share their photographic perspective on the ideas behind this effort. Starting with five contributing photographers we will consider the word Restoration;
what it means. what it stands for. how it feels. what it looks like. how it is represented. how it effects the world.
in three photos we will summarize our perspective. these pieces will then be published here, with small explanations from the artists. this is also a call to interested artist who would enjoy taking part in the project.
Submissions will be published 2/24/11.
February 17, 2011 § 1 Comment
As i’ve become more aware of what is really behind bars it has become more of a glaring issue in my every day life. I look out of the car window and see someone who clearly struggles financially and consider how much more likely it is that they will face the consequences of a broken justice system whether through the neighborhood they have to live in, the mistakes of their family members or themselves. This is not isolated to low income society it just comes at that part of society from all sides because they have fewer options for housing or jobs. The pain of these hardships can begin to overwhelm me until i see a glimmer of HOPE. We often think of such huge issues such as the federal and state justice system requiring an effort for the long hall, any changes taking generations to make a difference. Here is where the current justice reform is different; not everyone thinks we have to for all things to be in order to make some changes. Judge Alm of Hawaii is one single man who’s job title does not require the he re-mediate the state systems but that did not hold him back.
in 2009 Judge Alm [in his own words] became more frustrated with the high incarceration rate of probation violators. He saw their sentences as too extreme for their offenses but their probation officers previous warnings as too soft. Taking into his own hands he instituted a new method of correction and called it HOPE; Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation With Enforcement, and prepared himself for a flood of violation hearings.
The new procedure entailed an immediate response to probation violation; tested positive for drugs or missed an appointment, they would be arrested on the spot and have a hearing in 72 hours. Those who violated probation would be quickly sentenced to a short jail term in proportion to the severity of the violation, typically a few days.
Judge Alm was advised to inform offenders of the changes and so he met with 18 sex offenders and 16 drug offenders in separate hearings to share this with them.
“I can guarantee that everyone in this courtroom wants you to succeed on probation,
but you have not been cutting it. From now on, you’re going to follow all the rules of probation,
and if you don’t, you’re going to be arrested on the spot and spend some time in jail right away.”
Judge Alm did not make these changes to reduce his time in the court room, in fact he expected the violation hearings to rise dramatically but there was no increase. In the first week he had two and in the second he had three. HOPE immediately became a focus for scholars to study evaluate it’s methods. Within a six-month period the rate of positive drug tests fell by 93% for this in the HOPE probation program, compared to a 14% fall of probationers in a comparison group.
Program Evaluation Results
- Positive drug tests reduced by 86%
- Missed probation appointments reduced by 80%
- Revocations of Probation reduced by more than 50%
- Arrests for new crimes reduced by more than 50%
It’s about responding to the injustices proximal to you and your life. Judge Alm could have, like many already, not worried himself with the betterment of the probationers. The HOPE program would have never been discovered and the lives changed by reduced drug use alone would have never been offered such hope.