I started an interest in Restorative Justice over 15 years ago and attended a conference that opened my eyes to this powerful healing alternative to the punitive and non-rehabilitative approach to criminal justice that currently exists. My interest was derailed by a lengthy illness, but many years later, I return to the issue as a writer. The moment I first realized that Fania Davis, the executive director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, was Angela Davis’s sister, was powerful for me. I vividly recalled the early 1970’s in the Bay Area when Angela’s trial and the entire prison movement was on the front burner. I knew enough about the revolutionary Black Nationalist Movement to know that Fania Davis had gone through many profound changes to arrive at the point she was now: head of an organization whose philosophy is deeply rooted in non-violence and the healing potential of forgiveness and reconciliation. As Davis says in my recent article, “Our greatest security is not in more arrests and suspensions, but in creating healthier families, schools, and communities,” she says. “Harmed people harm people. Healed people heal people. If we are to interrupt the cycle of violence we need a justice that heals.”
“You can read the entire article in The Monthly.”
The U.S. imprisons far more people per capita than any other developed country in the world. The billions we pay towards this approach could best be spent on alternatives like Restorative Justice.