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Restorative Justice  RSS feed

 
master pollinator
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Our county elected a new District Attorney and she has some interesting new ideas that I am on the fence about.

Her history is short lived; she was a defense attorney and that unto itself gives me a little heart burn. As we speak, I have three cases running through the District Attornies office regarding Theft upon my land. This goes beyond me however, and extends to dozens of landowners who had our wood logged off and stolen by a single individual.

She mentions in her new vison statement that she will not prosecute anyone from 18-21 years old feeling they are too young. I have a hard time with that because formerally the County took a hard stance on undersage drinking and drug use to divert a lot of social problems. Equally she wants to divert a lot of cases to our Restorative Justice Program. That I am all for, but on limited cases. I say that because Restorative Justice only works if the Victim and the Defendant are agreeable to work out differences. If the defendant does not care, it does not work, just as if a victim wans the utmost punishment, thenit does not work either. Do not get me wrong, I like Restorative Justice, but it must fit.

It also means providing the Restorative Justice Program enough resources to be effective. If it can be...what an awesome thing to tax payers, we are not paying for people to sit in jail who do not have to be. But right now our only person at Restorative Justice has 101 criminals to deal with...she is overloaded! That will ultimately anger the victims of this county, who will reply in kind when it is time to vote for the next District Attorney. And the criminals, it does not matter who is the District Attorney because angered at the criminal system in general, they will vote for whomever was not in office when they were subjected to arrest. It seems like a no win situation! In fact it seems like the system of "put them in jail", is just easier, and that is why it is done. I mean if enough resources can be given to the Restorative Justice Program, then any money savings by not having the person in jail, soon gets swallowed up.

But there is an even bigger issue. Prosecutors take a case and try their darndest to win. Defense attorneys take a client and try and win. Those two entities are polar opposites, where Restorative Justice tries to find a middle ground. Our criminal justice system is just so broken, I am not sure those two outlooks can easily be married together. I want them too. I want the addicts I fight hard for every week to go to effective treatment and not jail. I want them to reach a point in their lives where they realize opiates are hollow, and sometimes a stay in jail allows that.

Now my brother in law, a stint in jail killed him. He was in jail for 9 months and his body started to heal. However when he got out he thought he could take the same dose of heroine as he did before and died. In his case, perhaps diversion to an effective drug treatment center would have saved his life? The thought haunts me to this day (Feb 2016 he died). He is not alone, in fact he is one of 416 that overdosed that year, Maine being the 6th worst in the nation per capita.

What is everyone's thoughts on restorative justice.
 
pollinator
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Why does this new DA think it must be one or the other?

Let them pay the price for their crime (their jail sentence), and then when they get out, also pay the victim back.  In that order: Justice THEN restoration.  I find no tension in that.

If they don't serve a sentence, it feels like the victim just gets screwed a second time.
 
pollinator
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Watch an uptick in underage crime as the news trickles out that she won't prosecute.  Teenagers and young adults may not be "fully" neurologically developed, but they are developed enough to understand justice, accountability, and morality.  

I think you are absolutely right that restorative justice can work only if both parties agree and are truly sincere. If the perpetrator is already reformed(ie, sincere), then the only portion of justice left is restoration of property/community.

The hard part is that only God can know who is truly sincere/ reformed; us humans mostly just guess at it.
 
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What happens when a 20 year old kills someone?
 
pollinator
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"Heey, don't pay no mind, you're under 21 you won't be doing any time!"

I think that part is not only idiocy, it totally spoils the flow of a perfectly good Offspring song. What a perfectly awful idea.

I think your comments on restorative justice are spot on. It's an excellent option, in some cases, and in others a lousy one.
 
pollinator
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I think that parents should do more to raise their kids better.
And when they fail and their kids kids have minor problems it sounds like a good idea to teach them the proper way as a community and try and help.

They might need a detox program, they might need anger management training, they might need to retake driving school.

If it is something major like they shoot up a school, I don't care if you are 14 or 44, or if one has mental disorder.
Everyone will be hurting too much to just say here is a helping hand.
But if it is something minor like "cow tipping" or drinking at the pond below the overlook. I think that removing them from the workforce and ripping them from their 1month old kid and partner. Is bad for me because I have to pay for them to go to jail and pay more for welfare and pay extra the polices/etc. And when they do come out they can't get another job easily, which means I have to keep on paying extra in tax. I think that overall it hurts society more than it helps. Now if I was hurt personally by them, I might say I don't care about society as a whole, I said person punished to the max. In fact I think that the max sentence is too low, only 5yrs give the turd 50yrs or just execute him. But as a society we might say I understand that you are hurting, that is why we came to take the shotgun from out your hands and brought him to the court to give him a lessor sentence than what you would have, and possible to give you a clean reputation and conscience.

Lets say the logger that commited fraud and stole your $10,000 in good. I would give him less time than if he robbed your family by kidnapping them and demand $499. Because money can be made back, and it is less traumatizing.
I would be able to be in the same room with the guy who defraud me of the $10,000 after he paid me back my money + interest. The guy who kidnapped my family, I would never be able to be in the same room, no matter what he paid back, or told cause his mental sickness/etc.  
 
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