Quakers in Criminal Justice

May 2015 Newsletter Download PDF


There remains little for me to say about the conference as it is all eloquently covered in a rich foray of articles including Jennifer's report, Melanie's poem, William's intro to Meresa's poem and the “ten point framework”. However, this latter is of note as it arose from an impromptu session scheduled as “gathering the threads” at the end of the Ammerdown conference.

Martin Wright stepped to the fore and presented “ten points” covering aspects of conflict resolution and criminal justice that he has presumably been mulling over, in the course of years as well as being tenets of truth from the conference. It did occur to me that this “blueprint” warrants compiling and being subject to rigorous Quaker methods into a minute or statement on what QICJ are about in terms of our general thinking. Of course, being as we are a support group, there is no such necessity but that does not preclude us from the possibility of having such a statement or indeed feeding into such a statement.

Also in this issue is a review of “On the receiving end”. This little publication was presented to us at the conference by Wendy Rose and I must say it does punch above its weight. I had been speaking to a survivor of the mental health system about the oppression and abuse he had been subjected to in secure care on the same day that I received a copy of this publication. Ann's review does justice to the booklet and I am heartened that the NHS have taken it forward for training purposes.

Canadian Friend's have given permission to print an article from their newsletter “Torn apart or stitched together” which struck me as an artful and ingenious way of introducing the notion of RJ to the sceptically uninformed. It is important to keep an eye on what's happening in the New World as so often in the past they have given us great revelations on the way forward with social matters.

One such potential breakthrough is Drug & Alcohol Family Courts, an adaptation from America. These have been piloted in London since 2008 and rolled out to five or six provincial towns in recent years in order to offer a therapeutic service enabling parents to turn their lives around rather than having their children placed in care. It has been muted that these may well be the way forward for domestic violence – a sort of half way house with restorative principles but coupled with the most necessary “agency” that victims need for transformative resolution.

But, as usual, it is the personal stories I like best and there are a couple in this issue, so do please keep them coming. Thank you to all contributors... some who will have to wait till next issue to be printed as I've been told off for having the newsletter so long!

Carmel Schmid
Newsletter editor

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