Friday, February 23, 2007

Conversations on Poverty

The Quality Community Council & the Virginia Organizing Project sponsored a conversation on the poverty of Criminal Justice issues as part of their ongoing conversations on poverty.
The panelists included Shon Parker, Community Activist; Phyllis Back, Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Jail; Joy Johnson, Quality Community Council; Christa Pierpont, Restorative Community Foundation; Jack Payden-Travers, Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Moderators David Saunier and Jen Larson Sawin, Central Virginia Restorative Justice.
Two things I take with me as I leave the program-
1) As a community, we should educate ourselves on the power of restorative justice and implement RJ techniques in our schools and larger community.
2) Redefining punishment to stop at the end of a jail term/probation and focusing on support for an ex-offender. We are quick to turn our backs on folks when they need our help most, unfortunately if we turn our backs, the ex-offender has few choices and may be more likely to recidivate (that is a word I think).

The program was a true conversation and we (as the audience and panelists) are hoping to generate interest in RJ and facilitating transition for offenders back into the community.

Next conversation is on hunger next Tuesday at Buford at 7:00PM.
I am proud to live in a community where these conversations are happening AND action and results are expected.

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