CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

The use of Restorative Approaches for cases of IPV?!

On March 16th, 2018, a conference was held by the NYC Domestic Violence Task Force, to explore the use of Restorative Approaches to Intimate Partner Violence.

My question: Are restorative approaches a viable, sensible, safe option for supporting victims of Intimate Partner Violence, (IPV)?  I entered the conference believing that they are not!  I was open to being shown otherwise.  The keynote speeches were excellent, and what I heard from the panel members about their work was wonderful.  I could hear and understand that restorative approaches are successful with certain populations, in certain situations.  For example, with young people in schools, when there are conflicts.  I can also imagine success in the case where a crime such as a burglary has been committed.

BUT, what was barely mentioned was how anybody envisages, with any amount of clarity, restorative approaches being used in the case of IPV.  I had been expecting, and wanting, to hear about some potential restorative approach models, specific to IPV, that had been thought up, proposed, by somebody.  We could have then discussed those.

One restorative practice that was talked about a lot was the “circle”.  Circles allow, possibly, for those in it to speak and listen to one another, in a safe place.  Or is it a safe place?!  I, as a survivor of IPV, know from my experiences and from hearing about the experiences of other survivors, that abusers are cunning, manipulative actors.  Furthermore, they do not care that they inflict harm upon their partners.  Do perpetrators of IPV want to change?  In my opinion, they basically have no desire to stop abusing their partners.  Are they even able to change, for the better?  I highly doubt this.

“Circles”; Victim-Offender Mediation; Family Group Conferencing.  Call a restorative approach practice what you will.  When I heard people talking about Restorative Justice at the conference, I thought: “Sounds like Couples Counseling, or Family Therapy, to me!”

My conclusion: Use funds more wisely.  Forget about restorative approaches; concentrate on improving the current systems.

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Yes. We Respond To Brock Turner’s Dad

Brock Turner’s father, Dan A. Turner, views rape as “20 minutes of action”!  That is what we find, reading Dan Turner’s court statement.  Brock Turner raped a woman in January 2015.  She was unconscious at the time.  Brock Turner was convicted of three felonies.  Prosecutors wanted a sentence of at least six years in state prison.  Dan Turner felt that such a sentence would be “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action”.  First of all, it is disgusting that rape would be described as “minutes of action”!  “Incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock … Probation is the best answer for Brock in this situation”.  My second point is that “this situation” that Dan Turner refers to, is a violent crime that his son has committed.  Brock sexually assaulted a woman and deeply altered this woman’s life forever.  But Dan Turner is more concerned with how his rapist son’s life has been altered.  In his court statement, he wrote, “Brock’s life has been deeply altered forever … His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve.”  I ask, “Whose fault is that?”

I am appalled by Dan Turner’s comments in his court statement.  He defends and minimizes the act of rape to such a degree that I, and countless others I feel sure, feel sickened.  “Brock can do so many positive things as a contributor to society”, wrote Dan about his son.  Did I read that correctly?  It seems that Dan is desperate to support his son regardless of how awful his son’s behavior is.  I understand wanting to protect one’s family members, but when a family member sexually violates another human being?  Dan wrote that his son “is totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity”.  How dare he suggest that his son would be a good candidate for communicating with others, with a view to teaching them, about sexual relations!  And bringing up the topic of the dangers of alcohol consumption appears to me to basically be an attempt to discredit the victim of the rape and essentially to blame her for what was so brutally done to her in January of last year.

 

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Being Unsilenced

Brock Turner received a six months prison sentence for raping an unconscious woman on Stanford University’s Campus. The judge felt that a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner. It is worth mentioning that this prison sentence equals to about 3 months jail time with good behavior.  Turner was facing up to 14 years in prison.

We are not going to write an opinion on this cases outcome, we are going to let the victim words speak to you. In a 12 page letter, the victim who wishes to remain anonymous speaks for all of us…

https://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/heres-the-powerful-letter-the-stanford-victim-read-to-her-ra?utm_term=.ffeJkgD8Ny#.yfwKQ0JWe6

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