With 174 Kentucky school districts serving over 645,000 public school children, we have a lot of ground to cover. Zero-tolerance programs are not working. Our justice system is overwhelmed. Judicial and incarceration costs are soaring. Families are broken. Conflict is on the rise! Our children, our schools, our business sectors, our justice system, our communities ... all depend upon the hard work and dedication of those willing to step forward to make these changes... to fix what is broken.
They reflect the inefficiency of the criminal justice system and mainstream domestic violence and sexual violence programs, along with the ineffective zero tolerance policies implemented nation-wide. The United States has five percent of the world population and incarcerates 25 percent of the world prisoners. One in every 31 people is under some kind of correctional control. One in nine black, one in 28 Hispanic and one in 57 white children have an incarcerated parent. A majority of those incarcerated have non-violent offenses. Imprisonment tears fathers and mothers from children. It is economically and politically disempowering. Millions lose the right to vote and the ability to get a job and/or public benefits after prison terms are served. It has become a powerful economic drain on taxpayers.
Restorative solutions can prevent conflict, drop-outs, truancy, crime, broken homes, school- and work-place tragedies, incarcerations, and other community pain, when implemented early and consistently. We will get the best results when we organize to get the job done before there is need for the criminal justice system to intercede. Even then, it's not too late for effective solutions and reintegration back into the community.
Pierre-r-Berastain, a Harvard Divinity Student, reported on an historic restorative justice conference writing,
"In Massachusetts, the Children's Defense Fund partnered with the Harvard Kennedy School to" research the 60,000 school expulsions and suspensions during the 2009 - 2010 school-year in Massachusetts. Of those, about 30,000 were 'unassigned offenses'--nonviolent, noncriminal offenses, which can include minor behavioral issues such as swearing, talking back to a teacher, and truancy. Of the approximately 30,000 unassigned offenses, some two-thirds received out of school suspension, resulting in 57,000 lost days of school. Furthermore, since schools are not currently required to report "unassigned offenses" resulting in exclusions of up to 10 days for regular education students, the estimated actual number of disciplinary exclusions is likely at least two to three times the number reported.
The need for alternative modes of dealing with problems, then, is evident. Already, restorative justice practices have led to fewer dropout rates and suspensions. In Duval County, FL, for example, schools that implemented restorative justice practices reduced suspensions by over fifty percent and saw violations to the Student Code of Conduct decrease by roughly a third during the 2011-12 academic year. Similarly, in Denver North High School, administrators are crediting restorative justice practices for a significant increase in academic achievement as well as a 58 percent decrease in suspensions. (Read more...)
Kentucky Center for Restorative Justice was founded
to serve as a leadership tool
to help implement the changes required
to unite us together for the common good.
We help organize Kentucky's collective experiences and human resource talents to make a difference in Kentucky's social environment. Through shared goals, we can move Kentucky forward at a pace beyond what each of us can accomplish individually.
KCRJ encourages you to step forward... be a leader...
help us change Kentucky through social innovation.
Keep your hand on the pulse of changing dynamics in Kentucky’s restorative justice movement. Receive news as a member of myKCRJ.
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