Results tagged “Restorative Justice”

August 22, 2012

sj.jpgBy Seth Weiner, Co-Director of the Center for Restorative Justice

Beautiful music began to fill the Sacred Heart Chapel as dusk had fallen and guests from across California took seats in the pews. Lively conversations between many reunited long-time friends quieted as Rod Hickman, former secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, approached the microphone and welcomed the crowd.

It was a picturesque beginning to the Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration symposium on "Crime, Punishment and the Common Good in California," co-hosted by Loyola Law School's Center for Restorative Justice and the California Catholic Conference on August 3 and August 4. More than 600 attendees from all parts of California, including dozens of restorative justice advocates, gathered to learn about the on-going historic reforms in the state's criminal justice system. After sharing a meal in the early evening on a grassy lawn overlooking West Los Angeles and the ocean from the bluffs on LMU's Westchester Campus, attendees were welcomed to an evening of healing music, poetry and testimony of people affected by crime and the criminal justice system.

As the lyrics of the hymn repeated, "hold us in thy mercy," survivor of violent crime and restorative justice advocate Jaimee Karroll spoke into the microphone. "I am a survivor of child abduction and violent abuse when I was 9 years old. I have found personal healing from working with both crime survivors as well as offenders incarcerated for violent offenses, including abduction." She returned to her seat and the music continued. A man replaced her at the microphone. "I am responsible for the murder of another man. I have served many years in prison and am now working to help heal the kinds of harm I have caused. I pray to God every day for forgiveness." These testimonies were followed by that of a sister of an incarcerated brother, the mother of a murdered son, and the sister of a murdered brother. As each person spoke, they took a seat side by side the others. The hymn played on as the tragedy and triumph spread through the chapel.

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June 2, 2011

Seal_small_webversion.jpgBy Seth Lennon Weiner, Co-Director, Loyola's Center for Restorative Justice

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling in Brown v. Plata brings into sharp focus the current dilemma facing California's criminal justice system. With prison overcrowding currently at alarming levels, California must find a careful balance between protecting the Eighth Amendment guarantees to prisoners and the public safety of the state. Considering Philadelphia's less than positive experience with a court-ordered reduction in prison populations during the 1990s, many Californians have expressed their anxiety and doubt over the High Court's ruling. The ruling, however, highlights more fundamental questions about our current criminal system in America: Where should the focus of criminal law be and around whom should the justice system be centered?

Loyola's Center for Restorative Justice (CRJ) believes that the answer to these questions requires a transformation of our current criminal justice system. Unlike our current system where the offender is the focus of the criminal proceeding, restorative justice seeks to transfer the focal point to the victim. Currently, California replaces the victim and seeks retribution on behalf of the victim and community at large. A system based on restorative principles would shift the focus of criminal proceedings from sanctions to restitution in order to make the victim whole and the offender directly culpable for the harm caused.

Restorative justice is not only a way of holding offenders accountable but, more importantly, is an idea that seeks to change the behavior of offenders and mitigate the harm caused to victims. By recognizing and addressing the harm caused to the victim as well as the harm that caused the offender to commit the offense, restorative justice takes a comprehensive approach that promotes healing and justice between the victim, the offender, and the community.

Another Way: Restorative Justice for Youth

The CRJ is bringing together scholars, policy makers, jurists and activists for a daylong discussion of the role of restorative justice for youth offenders. "Another Way: Restorative Justice for Youth" will run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, June 4 on Loyola's downtown L.A. campus.

The CRJ has crafted a day that will foster dialogue on healing for victims, their families and offenders. Loyola Professor Sam Pillsbury will deliver the speech, "From Liability to Responsibility," at 9:15 a.m. At 10:15 a.m., "From the Top Down: Government Perspectives on Restorative Justice," will feature panelists Judge Michael Nash '74, presiding judge, Juvenile Court of the L.A. Superior Court; Dr. John Deasy, superintendent, L.A. Unified School District; and Lee Baca, sheriff, L.A. County. Clinical Professor Maureen Pacheco, assistant director of Loyola's Center for Juvenile Law & Policy, will moderate.

The afternoon will be anchored by a keynote address at 1 p.m. from Azim Khamisa, an activist for peace whose son was shot and killed during a gang initiation while delivering pizzas. Khamisa is the author of The Secrets of the Bulletproof Spirit: How to Bounce Back from Life's Hardest Hits. At 2 p.m., the "From the Bottom Up: Community Perspectives on Restorative Justice" panel will feature speakers Jacqueline Caster, founder, Everychild Foundation; Ruett Stephen Foster, senior pastor, Community Bible Church, Culver City; Kim McGill, co-founder, Youth Justice Coalition, Los Angeles; Javier Stauring, co-director, Office of Restorative Justice, Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Additionally, from 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., there will be breakout sessions on a range of topics: "Opportunities for Victim's Voices," "Reintegration, not Release," "Community Participation" and "Education is Power." The day will be capped at 3 p.m. with a reception at which the Francisco "Franky" Carrillo Award will be presented to Scott Budnick, president, Greenhat Films (producers of The Hangover movies), and writing instructor, InsideOUT Writers.

Learn more about the program and how to register.

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March 23, 2011

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Loyola Law School's Center for Restorative Justice hosted a talk on campus on Monday by Francisco "Franky" Carrillo, who last week was released from prison after 20 years of incarceration for a murder he did not commit. Carrillo will discuss his experience with the criminal justice system and his legal struggle to prove his innocence.

Carrillo was 16 years old when he stood trial for murder. Based primarily on eyewitness testimony, he was sentenced to two life sentences. Several witnesses recanted their identification of him as the killer in a 1991 drive-by shooting. Last Wednesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Paul A. Bacigalupo ruled to have Carrillo released.

Clinical Professor Scott Wood, director of Loyola's Center for Restorative Justice, was instrumental in securing the release. Wood persuaded the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office to review the case at the urging of Carrillo's lawyer, Ellen Eggers. Eggers, a state public defender, was honored with the St. Ignatius of Loyola Award at a ceremony at Loyola on Feb. 10 for her pro bono work on the case.

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