Restorative Justice, COVID-19 and ‘Virtual Circles’

At a time when many people are forced into isolation, restorative circles provide an intimate, facilitated space for participants to connect with one another. The Center for Court Innovation has reimagined the concept as online “virtual circles” to address the needs of vulnerable populations and the people who work with them.

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Breaking Good: How to Heal a Life Spent Behind Bars

Most prisoners on the verge of release focus on how to get back on their feet. But finding ways to contribute to the community matters much more—and ensures that they will never return to prison, writes a Washington State inmate as he awaits the outcome of his parole hearing.

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How South Carolina Criminalizes Troubled Youth

The video from Spring Valley High School in Columbia, SC is seared in many Americans' memories. A school resource officer, working for the Richland County Sheriff's Department, was seen grabbing a student, flipping her desk over, and dragging her across the classroom. The October video clip went viral—and eventually led to the termination of the officer, Ben Fields. Some have defended the officer's actions, saying the video does not show the whole incident. But in fact, it is just the […]


America's 'Third-World' Approach to Juvenile Offenders

So-called “zero tolerance” policies in schools and juvenile justice systems have made the United States “almost third world in punitive measures,” according to a former Chief Judge of the State of New York. Judith Kaye told a gathering of advocates and criminal justice practitioners that many widespread “tough-on-crime” juvenile justice policies do little to deter violence, but effectively hold back large numbers of young people in need of help. “These commitments are not just overwhelmingly expensive, they are also ineffective,” […]


Forgiving a Murderer

When Thérèse Bartholomew's husband picked up the phone on the night of February 12, 2003, she could tell by the tone of his voice that something was wrong. An acquaintance was calling to deliver the devastating news that Bartholomew's brother and best friend, Stephen Leone, had been shot and killed a few hours earlier after an argument at a strip club in Greenville, SC. Leone's death plunged the recently married Bartholomew into a depression, put strains on her relationship with […]