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    Mainstreaming Restorative Justice in South Australia’s Criminal Justice System: A Response to the Over‑Representation of Indigenous Offenders

    Alexandra Smith

    Abstract

    John Braithwaite, a leading advocate for restorative justice, stated that:

    There can be no justice in a world without connectedness and empathy; at the same time, social capital cannot flourish in a world without an infrastructure of security around human relationships that can only be guaranteed by institutions of justice.

    In recent years, the concept of restorative justice has attracted much attention from policy makers, legal practitioners and social justice advocates. This essay discusses the shortcomings of South Australia’s current court system and its failure to adequately respond to the needs of Indigenous offenders, and considers the potential for the increased use of principles of restorative justice to provide beneficial outcomes in addressing those needs. The following is a consideration of how mainstream criminal sentencing can be reimagined to integrate restorative justice, and suggests that South Australia adopt legislation based on the Crimes (Restorative Justice) Act 2004 (ACT) in order to mandate restorative justice considerations as a compulsory part of the criminal sentencing process.

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    Restorative Justice is a range of processes that advocates that the people most effective at finding a solution to a problem are the people who are most directly impacted by the problem, creating opportunities, for those involved in a conflict to work together to understand, clarify and resolve the incident and work together towards repairing the harm caused.

    The Centre for Restorative Justice was formed in 1997 as a response to community concern about the over-use of incarceration in South Australia and because victims of crime at that stage were not able to engage appropriately in the functions of the criminal justice system.

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    Video:

    Restorative Justice: Why Do We Need it? • BRAVE NEW FILMS (BNF)

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    Video:

    Relationships First: Restorative Justice Education

    Do you wonder what is at the foundation of Restorative Justice Education? Have you ever wondered about things as simple as how to organize a circle in the space you have available? This clear and accessible description of the foundational components of a holistic approach to implementing Circle processes is unique in that it answers questions many of us are hesitant to ask. 2018.

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    Notes for an address by The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, PC, QC, MP Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, September 13, 2018

    Extract: The first initiative is expanding the use of restorative justice, which emphasizes repairing the relationship between the victim and the offender.

    Restorative justice is focused more on collaboration and inclusivity, and is often more culturally relevant and responsive to specific communities. Victims have a powerful voice, and this process allows them to be heard and to heal, while at the same time, holding the offender accountable for their actions.

    In this sense, I sometimes view restorative justice as acting as a kind of “circuit-breaker” from the cycle that so many find themselves caught in.

    While restorative justice has been part of Canada’s criminal justice system for over 40 years, and has proven effective over that period, it is still not widely available across the country.

    A 2011 Department of Justice Canada report found that Indigenous people who completed a community-based alternative to mainstream justice, such as restorative justice, were significantly less likely to re-offend than those who did not. I am committed to expanding this resource so it can be more widely used and accepted across the country.

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    This training handbook aims to provide insights into the topic of violent radicalisation and the usage of restorative dialogue for its’ prevention and reduction/combat. As previously mentioned, it is part of the ERASMUS+ project RDaVR – Restorative Dialogue against Violent Radicalisation and it was written by the partner organisations involved: RJ4All, BOSEV, I&F, CPIP, Sinergia, Tuzla, and Casa Eslava.

    The purpose of the handbook is to provide more in-depth information about restorative justice for professionals working with o enders, ex-o enders, or people at risk of violent radicalisation and group violence. Restorative justice is not in opposition to current criminal justice practices, but complementary.

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    Dr. Howard Zehr, also known as the “grandfather of restorative justice,” has been documenting the impact of life sentences since the 1970s. Restorative justice is an approach to justice that focuses on collaboration and communication between the offender and the victim.

    His new book Still Doing Life: 22 Lifers, 25 Years Later, checks in with individuals serving life sentences in Pennsylvania. The book is a sequel to his 1996 work Doing Life, which introduces the individuals and shares their stories.

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    Recalling the parable of the persistent widow who implored a judge every day to “render a just decision for me,” the pope said, the judges, too, are called to listen “to the cry of those who have no voice and suffer injustice” so that the power they receive with their mandate is always used to serve “in favor of the dignity of the human person and the common good.”

    “The people demand justice, and justice needs truth, trust, devotion and purity of purpose,” he said.

    However, there also needs to be a “culture of restorative justice” fostered in every society, because restorative justice is “the only and true antidote to revenge” and disregard, he said.

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    Sara Templeton wants to meet her online bully face to face.

    The Christchurch city councillor wants to go through a restorative justice process with an online troll.

    She has had experience with these processes in the past and knows how useful they can be for both parties.

    Templeton is also calling for a review of the Harmful Digital Communications Act after receiving a number of messages from people who have had mixed success with the act.

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    In my conversations with other educators, there is usually confusion around the definition of restorative practices due to the common emphasis placed on restorative justice, which focuses on repairing relationships when harm has occurred as an alternative to punitive approaches to discipline. In contrast, restorative practices focus on not only repairing, but also building and strengthening relationships and social connections within communities. The mainstream conception of restorative justice is credited to Howard Zehr and is thought to have originated within the criminal justice system in the 1970s. However, a 2017 report from the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice, notes the growing demand from the field that practitioners acknowledge many of the values and practices of restorative justice come directly from Indigenous communities in North America and across the globe.

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    Much more than a response to harm, restorative justice nurtures relational, interconnected school cultures. The wisdom embedded within its principles and practices is being welcomed at a time when exclusionary discipline and zero tolerance policies are recognized as perpetuating student apathy, disproportionality, and the school-to-prison pipeline.

    Relying on the wisdom of early proponents of restorative justice, the daily experiences of educators, and the authors’ extensive experience as classroom teachers and researchers, this Little Book guides the growth of restorative justice in education (RJE) into the future.

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    Professional Certificate of Restorative Justice

    Short course

    Restorative justice is a professional development course designed to provide educators with guidance on how to build strong relationships in classrooms. You will learn how to create supportive and safe learning environments while at the same time being responsive to incidents of harm and conflict.

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    Abstract
    Restorative justice has long been positioned as a justice mechanism that prioritises emotion and its expression. It is also unique in its ritual elements, such as the ritualized expression of anger and the symbolic exchange of apology and forgiveness.

    This paper draws on insights from research and practice in restorative justice and recent developments in criminology/legal theory and the philosophy of justice to suggest some ways that the broader criminal justice landscape can incorporate elements of successful restorative justice rituals into its practice. I argue that the unique elements of restorative justice- its ability to harness anger into a deliberative ritual for victims and offenders, its focus on symbolic reparations, and its ability to engender a form of forward-looking forgiveness that promotes civility can provide a framework for rethinking how criminal justice institutions operate.

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    'Fleming is also sceptical of the benefits of legislative change to address the issue. But instead of an app she believes Australia should move towards a restorative justice model to address sexual assault matters.

    Restorative justice is not a new concept but it gained fresh relevance during the MeToo movement in the US. It can encompass a variety of survivor-led actions to repair the harm caused by a sexual assault, including sometimes bringing the accuser and the accused together “to discuss what happened, what needs to happen, and find a way of healing or reparations”.'

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    'What is restorative justice?

    There is no one definitive answer to this question. Restorative justice is a burgeoning philosophical framework that asks people to rethink the best way to respond to harmful behavior.

    Perhaps the most expansive definition comes from Griffith University criminologist Kathleen Daly, who calls restorative justice “a set of ideals about justice that assumes a generous, empathetic, supportive, and rational human spirit.”'

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