Redefining Justice: the Restorative Approach

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    • 00:00

      [MUSIC PLAYING][Redefining Justice: The Restorative Approach]

    • 00:11

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: It makes me strongerto say, hey, I'm sorry, you know, forgive me.And so that's the way my life has been going since 2009.

    • 00:23

      LORENN WALKER: Hi, I'm Lauren Walker.[Lorenn Walker, JD, MPH] And I am the executive directorof Hawaii Friends or Restorative Justice,which is a small nonprofit based in Honolulu,run mostly by volunteers.We're a group of lawyers, educators,and social workers interested in improving the justice system.

    • 00:43

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: My background is, I'm an attorney.I call myself a restorative lawyer,and I'm a public health educator.I have a master's degree in public health.The traditional criminal justice system is a public affair.It is in public.People come into courts and they observe what goes on.And restorative practices, they're private.

    • 01:04

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: People do not meet with the public there.They're private.They're just the people who were hurt,and who did the hurting and then their loved ones,people who care about them.And the focus in a restorative processis, how can people repair the harm?What can be done to help people heal?In the traditional criminal court,

    • 01:26

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: the process is about who did the wrong thing?Are you guilty, and how are you going to be punished?Restorative justice, to me in a nutshell,is healing for people who have beenharmed by conflict and wrongdoingand social injustice.So it focuses on what people need to repair the harm.

    • 01:47

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: What do people need to have healthy, positive lives?We're about to enter the Hawaii state women's prison in Kailuaon a Oahu in Hawaii.Today we're going to have a circle for Catherine Samuel.She was imprisoned 30 years ago for drug-related offenses,

    • 02:07

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: and while she was imprisoned in the 1980s,she stabbed and killed another inmatewho she had a personal relationship with.In her circle, her daughter is goingto participate by telephone from California.Her attorney, Bob Merce, who was able to get her lifesentence without parole commuted,

    • 02:30

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: and she was able to apply for parole, which was granted,and she'll be leaving in a month.Also, a prison representative, who has known her for 30 yearswill participate in the circle.

    • 02:42

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: Hi, Greg.Good morning.

    • 02:46

      LORENN WALKER: Hi, Catherine.How are you?So you open.So remember, anything you want to say, go ahead and open.

    • 02:55

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: Oh, I have been thinking about this, what,for a couple months knowing that I'm herenot just for my health, to get my health problems taken careof, but the purpose that I know that these past 30

    • 03:16

      CATHERINE SAMUEL [continued]: years of my life has been moving me towardsis to share what I've been through,how far it's brought me.The things that I've had to deal with and understand and learnabout this life that I've been given,so that someone else can maybe get some benefit.

    • 03:41

      CATHERINE SAMUEL [continued]: I know that it's not for nothing.

    • 03:44

      LORENN WALKER: A re-entry circle is a restorative practicethat we developed here in Hawaii thatfocuses on what an individual, who is incarcerated, what theywant for creating a positive life,and looking at their needs for a positive, rehabilitated life.It gives them a chance to repair damaged relationships

    • 04:09

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: with their support group.And it also helps them plan for specific needslike housing, employment-- their documents.Do you have a social security card?How are you going to get one?The re-entry circle looks at all of these needs, and says,how can we meet this need.How can you find-- where are you going to live

    • 04:29

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: when you get out of here?What are you going to do for transportation?How can you maintain good emotional health?Something that we have added in the last couple yearsis leisure time.How are you going to spend your leisure time?For someone in prison to make plansfor this, is really vital to being successful.And so the first need they have is

    • 04:50

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: for reconciliation and making amends with harmed loved ones.Also, part of the restorative re-entry circle we dois to give people who have been harmed by someone in prisonthe opportunity to find some healing.And so the person in prison, the individual,invites their family to come, because that's usually

    • 05:13

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: who they have harmed.People in prison are interested in having re-entry circles,because they care about their families.They care about their loved ones,and they want to repair the relationships that theyhave damaged by their crime, or just by their incarceration,by being imprisoned-- especially mothers who left children.

    • 05:35

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: They feel really deep remorse, and theycare about their children and theywant to make amends with them, and talk to their children.We've actually done research and the re-entry circleshelp children deal with the trauma of losing a parent.The re-entry circles are being replicated in other states.

    • 05:57

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: They're being replicated in California,they're being replicated in New York, and in Washington D.C.

    • 06:03

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: I think about the thingsthat they've said to me that have really resonatedfor me to help me, to make me stronger--to be able to have the courage to move forward,to find-- to ask them to look for forgiveness and accepting

    • 06:24

      CATHERINE SAMUEL [continued]: responsibility.At one point, when I came back here in 2009, and Larson,here, I used to cry every time I saw him.And he asked me why I used to cry.And I used to cry, Larson, becauseof the hurt and the pain that I was trying to understand,

    • 06:46

      CATHERINE SAMUEL [continued]: and you being there was really-- it really touched me,because it affected your life.Not just your life, but other womenthat were there across the streetwhen the tragedy happened.The fear and the hurt, and the pain of not wanting to be here,

    • 07:07

      CATHERINE SAMUEL [continued]: and asking how am I going to live through this?What am I supposed to do when I come back to a placewhere I took a life?What am I supposed to do?

    • 07:19

      LORENN WALKER: The first step in setting up a re-entry circleis meeting with the person who applies for it.The person applies for it.We have an application.They fill out an application, and then theygive it to the prison staff.The prison staff give it to us, and then we set upan interview with the person.And we ensure that, that person is accountable and responsible

    • 07:41

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: for any wrongdoing they did, and understandswhat the process is about.We go over who they want to invite to the circle, whichis loved ones.If they've had contact with their loved ones.It's really important for us to knowif there's any kind of protective orders,because we don't want to violate any restraining orders.

    • 08:02

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: And so it's a clarification interview,and it's also a very solution-focused interview.We really complement people that they want to make amends.That that's a huge thing that someoneis responsible and accountable like that.We've had occasion to provide re-entry circlestwice to people who did not commit a crime.

    • 08:24

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: They were not responsible for the crimethat they were in prison for.Yet, they took responsibility for dealing with the hardshipof being imprisoned.It wasn't a situation where they were being blamed,but they just stood up to what-- look what happened to me.This injustice-- and happened to me.What can I do about this injustice?

    • 08:44

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: What can I do about the injusticethat the system caused me.And it's been-- it was very helpful in the twocases we did that for.And that was very unusual, because restorative justice--people always say it's only for peoplewho have engaged in wrongdoing, and thenactually, we used it for people who were victimized.

    • 09:08

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: And one of our first projects we ever didwas to do a restorative process for victimswho don't know who the offender is,because in 70% of all crime in the United States,there's no arrest.They don't know who did it.There is no arrest.Someone can be in prison for like robbery,or promotion of dangerous drugs.

    • 09:31

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: A lot of people in prison today in the United Statesare there for drugs, and so that person can stillrequest a re-entry circle.And even though they're inviting their family,and their family-- maybe they stole from their family.But their family-- even if they didn't steal from them,their family suffered.Their family, a family member, is a direct victim

    • 09:53

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: of the harm in losing a loved one to prison.And so, they have the opportunityto try and make things right with that person.Because even if I didn't rob you, I robbed someone else,but I had to go to prison.You lost me from your life, and you suffered from that.

    • 10:15

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: And I want to make things right for you.I feel remorse, and I'm sorry I did that,and I want to try to make things right.Kayla, what could your mom do you to tryto make things right for you?How could she try and repair the harm?

    • 10:30

      KAYLA: The time that she spent behind bars,I hate to say it but, that's what she needed.And I feel that my mom is really sorry for what she's done,and she has taken responsibility for a lot of thingsthat she's done.

    • 10:52

      KAYLA [continued]: Out of all my siblings, I feel like I've alwaysunderstood her, and I always saw the good that she had in her.And I've never lost any love, and I've always loved her.And I've always encouraged her to be strong.

    • 11:15

      KAYLA [continued]: Nobody in our family really talksabout what my mom has done.Over the years, I'm really the only onethat really knew, because I lived it.

    • 11:25

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: I had to take responsibility and findforgiveness for what had happened,and what had happened in other people lives because of it.And if the opportunity presented itselfto ask them-- to tell them how sorry

    • 11:46

      CATHERINE SAMUEL [continued]: I was that they had to live through something like that.Being able to say, forgive me-- beingable to let go of what's been binding me for so long,I am so thankful.I really am.That's why I know this is my purpose, to share

    • 12:08

      CATHERINE SAMUEL [continued]: what I'm gone through, and how other women can letgo of those-- let go of that shackle,let go of those restraints that hold us to the past thatstop us from having a life in this worldthat we've being given.

    • 12:22

      LORENN WALKER: The outcomes for restorative justiceare really good.There's major research that was conducted by Heather Strangand Larry Sherman in the UK.It's called The Evidence, the report,and they looked at a number of types of crimes, outcomes,and found very good results with restorative justice

    • 12:46

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: compared to the regular criminal justice system.Especially for victims in feeling like theyhad an opportunity to be heard.They felt very positive about the restorative practicecompared to the criminal justice system.Serious offenses are best dealt with restoratively

    • 13:06

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: compared to minor offenses.The research shows that the more serious the crime,the more successful restorative justice is.So it should be used for more serious assaults, robbery,not shoplifting.You can use restorative-- have a restorative philosophy,

    • 13:28

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: which is we care about what happened,what can be done to repair the harm.But you don't need to have a formal restorativepractice for minor things.Some research was done in Australiaon drunk driving using restorative justicefor drunk driving cases, and it was not good.It was better when it was dealt with by the courts.

    • 13:49

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: And the researchers, Heather Strang, and Ithink it was John Braithwaite, believed that it was betterwith the courts, because the judge could take awayyour license.And so you can't drive anymore, and so you're notgoing to go drive again drunk, usually,if you don't have a license.A restorative practice, there is no authorityto take your license away.

    • 14:09

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: Restorative justice it does help reduce repeat crime,because people understand the consequences of whatthey did more than just being yelled at by some third party.And our research we did-- we're doing research right now.It's going to be-- we'll find out this summer what

    • 14:30

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: the outcomes are on recidivism.Mostly we look at victim healing.How helpful was the re-entry circle for victim healing?We've looked at that, and it's been--we have almost had 600 people participatein these re-entry circles.And to date, we have had 100%, every single person, has said

    • 14:53

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: that it was a positive experience.But we are looking at if it has helped people learn from crimeand reduce recidivism.We did a small sample, and we showed a little--we showed some promise that it does reduce recidivism.But yeah, there is research on that.

    • 15:15

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: Heather Strang and Larry Sherman's reportlooked at recidivism and reported on the statisticsthat it was effective.And for the other needs that you have,last time-- and you have a copy of the planthat we did previously.So your housing is to--

    • 15:37

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: Yeah, I'm going to livingwith son, Ephrem, and Dawn--

    • 15:42


    • 15:42

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: --his wife.I'll be staying with them, and helping himwith his paperwork for his business.And--

    • 15:50


    • 15:50

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: I'm so looking forward to living with them.

    • 15:53

      LORENN WALKER: I bet, yeah.

    • 15:54

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: Yeah., And I've never lived with anyone--not good influences, no-- ever since I left homewhen I was 13.My son is a beautiful person, and his wife is beautiful,and I'm really looking forward to this.

    • 16:10

      LORENN WALKER: And also, I think Debbie, your daughter on Maui--she also said you can come and live with her if you want to.

    • 16:21

      BOB MERCE: She says Ephrem's house,but always welcome to live and may alwaysvisit me at our up-country house in Maui.It's very large and open for her.It's a safe zone for her on the golf course.

    • 16:32

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: I know she's been angry at me [INAUDIBLE].All my children have been angry.I can't blame them-- can't blame them at all.

    • 16:44

      LORENN WALKER: We apply our restorative programsacross the board.Right now we're doing a restorative re-entry--we're calling it restorative entry,because it's for people who are goingto go into federal prison.And before sentencing, we're having an entry circle

    • 17:05

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: where they're meeting with their harmed loved ones,and they're making a plan.And then that is the information--they're sharing it with the judge,and then they're being sentenced,and then they're going to prison.So you can use it anytime, I think,that someone admits guilt, is convicted.You can use it then, and you can use it too for diversion.

    • 17:28

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: Especially with kids, diversion, keeping them outof the justice system, and doing a restorative process.But again, I think it has to be for your serious things.We've had re-entry circles for peoplewho suffer from mental illness, who are incarcerated.Today in the United States, a lotof people who are incarcerated suffer mental illness.And one in particular, I recall was three teenagers.

    • 17:53

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: Their father had a mental health problem,and the three teenagers benefitedhugely from the restorative re-entry circle,because they were able to talk about what it was itlike to lose their dad.One of them actually talked about howhe was starting to do crime.He was doing things, and he was able to say, you know,

    • 18:15

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: I'm-- the kid ended up fine.I think restorative justice does help people.For sure, it helps first-time offenders realize the harmthat they've caused other people, insteadof just being afraid that they'regoing to be punished severely.And something we know, especially with youth,is that youth between the ages of 14 and 25,

    • 18:39

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: they have the highest rehabilitation rate.They rehabilitate.Youth is a time where we make mistakes.That's how we learn, and so I thinkit's really important to give the opportunityfor restorative practice instead of just punishingyouth and putting them in jail.But I think that restorative justice, like today we

    • 19:00

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: did that re-entry circle for Catherine Samuel.She was in her 60's when she had her first restorativeencounter, and it was very beneficial to her.She's very remorseful.People who do want-- that's another thing.People who want restorative practices are--it's kind of self-selected, because they are peoplewho say, yeah, I'm sorry.

    • 19:22

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: But I think that if we did have more,and like that other research I saidabout the guy in-- the brain scientistin the UK, Daniel Reisner, I think.He did a TED Talk.And he worked with people who are confirmed psychopathes,and they had them go through a restorative practice,and they did have improved brain chemistry.

    • 19:46

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: So they were less psychopathic after theyhad a restorative practice.Because that's one thing people say,well, you can't use it on psychopaths.Well actually, you can.You can use it on psychopaths.I mean it's not going to be-- you're notgoing to-- restorative justice is not going to cure everyone.It's not going to fix all bad behavior.There's going to be cases.There was a case, a famous case in the UK.

    • 20:08

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: A guy who went through a restorative practice,and he was very-- he was forgiven.He forgave.He ended up murdering someone later.So there's going to be-- that's going to happen.But you know nothing as a panacea,but we can still improve what we do,and I think restorative practices do that.How did you come to forgive yourself for this?

    • 20:32

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: I wish there was a formula.I think a desire, a willingness, to wantto be that person I am in my spirit--

    • 20:42

      LORENN WALKER: So you knew--

    • 20:43

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: --for a long time.

    • 20:44

      LORENN WALKER: You always knew you were better than that act.

    • 20:46

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: Yes-- yes.

    • 20:47

      LORENN WALKER: You're not bad the bad act.You're better than the bad act.

    • 20:50

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: Yes, absolutely.You know finding that mechanism, it's not just one thing.It's I need to-- there are a lot of thingsthat I need in my character, in my values, to accomplish that.

    • 21:13

      CATHERINE SAMUEL [continued]: Yeah, I need a balance.I can't do it with just being in prison,and saying that's going to do it.It takes action on my part, it is changing my mindfrom-- it may be a situation that might wind up--

    • 21:33

      CATHERINE SAMUEL [continued]: might keep me here.It takes thinking.I have to start thinking.For a long time I didn't think.

    • 21:44

      LORENN WALKER: You've changed your thinking.You changed your thinking.

    • 21:45

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: Yeah-- oh, yeah.I've changed my thinking, and I'm starting to think.I had to start to think first that--

    • 21:50

      LORENN WALKER: How did you change your thinking?

    • 21:52

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: By repetition, just continually-- continually,when a thought comes into my head and I know it's not right,or a situation, I rebuke it.

    • 22:04

      LORENN WALKER: Rebuke it.

    • 22:05

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: Get behind me.It has nothing to do with me.

    • 22:08

      LORENN WALKER: I think is somethingthat is important to consider for restorative justice thatoften gets overlooked, is that people thinkthat the restorative practice is notappropriate for other people.And I think we have to let the people who have been harmed,

    • 22:28

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: and the people who caused the harm,let them decide what they want, and if it's a good idea,and let them bring their supporters.I think we have to quit being so paternaland substituting our judgement for theirs.I think that in restorative justice,there's a tendency to become an expert on restorative justice.

    • 22:50

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: And so I know when it's appropriate,and I think that we have to be more respectful of people,and let them decide what they need.And that as practitioners, we need to listen to that,and we need to notice when we're judging too much,

    • 23:11

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: and allow people the opportunity to engage in these practices.And if you don't feel like you're qualified to do it,then find out how to become more qualified,or find someone else in the community who's qualified.What about financial and employment?What would you do for money when you get out of here?

    • 23:27

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: Well I'm going to belike maybe working for Ephrem.

    • 23:29

      LORENN WALKER: OK, so work for Ephrem.

    • 23:32

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: And then, of course,I'll put in for Social Security or whatever--

    • 23:36

      LORENN WALKER: Yeah, Social Security.

    • 23:37


    • 23:38

      LORENN WALKER: Yeah, you're eligible for Social Security,probably.Yeah, OK, so apply for that.And then you're going to do that whenyou get back to California?

    • 23:45


    • 23:46

      LORENN WALKER: When you go to to California?OK.

    • 23:47


    • 23:47

      LORENN WALKER: Do you have an ID?What about for your ID?

    • 23:49

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: I've got to getall my ID-- you know I sent for my birth certificate.It never went anywhere.So but I still have the applicationthat I had notarized.I know I can go online and get my social securitystuff started.And I just want to take the bus-- youknow I want to take the bus.

    • 24:10

      LORENN WALKER: OK, transportation--that's where we are.You're going to take the bus.

    • 24:12

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: I want to take the bus around LA.

    • 24:13

      LORENN WALKER: OK.OK, so you're going to use bus for transportation.

    • 24:16


    • 24:17


    • 24:17


    • 24:18

      LORENN WALKER: Great.

    • 24:18

      CATHERINE SAMUEL: I was looking forward to that.

    • 24:20

      LORENN WALKER: I really got interestedin restorative justice, because Isaw the failings of the justice system, the adversarial justicesystem.Before I got into restorative justice, I was a trial lawyer.I did civil litigation, and I would stand in courtroomsand argue for my case, and it didn't-- people,

    • 24:44

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: even if I won the case-- I mean, I was happy as a lawyer to winthe case.You know, it's like, yeah, I won my case.But the people who are involved, if they won,they didn't seem really that much happier.I mean maybe they got some money,but there wasn't-- it didn't feel like it built peace.And so that's when I went back to school

    • 25:05

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: to get a master's degree in public health,and that's when I learned about restorative justicein this way.At the time I was doing it too, when I went to public school,I was representing kids in family court.And also at the same time, I had teenagers, young kids.And my kids, when they did something wrong,I'd always say, you know, how would youfeel if that happened to you?

    • 25:25

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: You know, if you did that to someone, how would you feel?And so I would do that with my clients in family court.I'd ask them, well, how do you think that lady feels,you know, in the waiting room over therethat you did that to.The kids would always say-- this one boy I'm nevergoing to forget, Zachary.He said, Lorenn, you don't know what it's like for me,

    • 25:46

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: and I just remember thinking, you know,it's because the system is-- you know, he doesn't have roomto think about the lady he hurt, because he's in huge trouble.That's part of the problem with the traditional justice system,because the consequences were so punitive,people don't want to be responsible.People don't have room to say, yeah, I did something wrong.

    • 26:08

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: I want to try-- you know.I think restorative justice is really good,because it gave people hope.And so, yeah, I feel very passionate about itthat it helps people.It helps people find some kind of answer,maybe not-- you know, you can never-- it's not a panacea.You're never going to make-- you're nevergoing to repair everything.You're always-- when you get cut, you have a scar.

    • 26:30

      LORENN WALKER [continued]: You have the scar.You're never going to get rid of the scar, right, but it heals.You can heal.And I think we need more healing.We need to care more about how people can learn from sufferingand wrongdoing, instead of just being angry and punishingpeople.[MUSIC PLAYING]

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Redefining Justice: the Restorative Approach

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Lorenn Walker discusses restorative justice and her job facilitating restorative justice. Restorative justice focuses on repairing the harm caused by a crime. Walker discusses the re-entry circle, finding forgiveness, and the benefits of restorative justice.

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Redefining Justice: the Restorative Approach

Lorenn Walker discusses restorative justice and her job facilitating restorative justice. Restorative justice focuses on repairing the harm caused by a crime. Walker discusses the re-entry circle, finding forgiveness, and the benefits of restorative justice.

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