Embedding Restorative Practices in Community | Paul Chambers | TEDxStPeterPort

Embedding Restorative Practices in Community | Paul Chambers | TEDxStPeterPort



she stands fragile surrounded by the darkest of memories its 1996 South Africa and she's given an account of the murder of her son and present are the people who gave that order and carried it out and if she finishes the room falls definitely silent and then Desmond Tutu says do you have anything to say to these people and she says my heart is full of sorrow I am asking you now to come with me to the place where he died and hold in your hand some of the earth of where he died with me and feel my pain and my loss and then I want you to do something else I have so much love to give but now it has nowhere to go so I want you to become my son and love me and allow me to love you and he did restorative justice is fundamentally called to change the community and to responsibility it allows victims of harm and crime to have a voice that they would know not long have I got into we started justice before I even knew the word very briefly my background is that I was manager of the center just across the way there the whole idea there was to build bridges between Protestants and Catholics and evangelicals and traditionalists that journey took me to Belfast regularly to the core Emilia community to learn what they were doing there to build bridges and healing it then took me on a journey that was unexpected and controversial Wood seems to follow me around quite a bit and so for the first time in the Channel Islands I a multi-faith conference about coexistence and this sounds a bit like a joke I'll give you but we had any man a rabbi and a priest a rabbi from New York and a man who had converted from Christianity to Islam and a priest that I later would travel to Palestine with and in those conversations we started to build bridges and to celebrate what we had in common in 2008 the priests decided it was a good idea that I go to what they called the occupied territories to Israel Palestine and I could give a whole TEDx talk on that in itself but who we met there were people who were committed to building bridges and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians and what they used was a process called restorative justice I remember one day sitting with a young man and Israeli who had committed his life to a charity called a hug which is where people get alongside people whose homes have been bulldozed and I said persuade me that restorative justice works and so he told me a story he said there was one morning a passing and mother was taken a six-year-old boy to school as anyone with a six-year-old has done here in Guernsey and she was holding his hand out of nowhere there was a mortar strike and so shrapnel everywhere and they hit the deck when it cleared the mother still holding her boy's hand stood up and it was just his arm the boy survived and months later this charity arranged a meeting between the soldier who ordered the firing and the mother of the child and after two hours he said they embraced and they forgave each other that was the power of who started justice I came back to Guernsey been to Africa a couple of times and be very moved by the whole issue he's coming back to a very wealthy affluent community from abject poverty I came back from a war zone where it was common that actually 17 18 19 year old kids had m16s with their finger on the trigger that's what it's like lots of people got opinions on israel-palestine not many people would be and smelt it and breathed it but I was convinced to actually do you know what I want to commit myself to something that's more like that so maybe me I decided that I would go for probation officers job thinking that would the obvious thing I was turned down or failed miserably and again being me I wanted more than just the HR I'm sorry sir you weren't successful this time so I went in see Stuart Chris battered the door down and said what was it and he gave me a good enough reason but he said there's something coming up in a few months that I think you'd be greater and the island in its wisdom had decided having been used in restorative practices for a number of years that they needed someone to pull it all together to manage it develop it and implement it and so I applied for this job and was successful and the journey since then seven years later has been quite remarkable primarily we work in the criminal justice system that's where I started I had to write a strategy you know I played rugby and did art find out what a strategy was to me I had no idea so that was great finally got one together one of the areas and one of the things about today's talk is about cultural change now we live in a society that says it wants everything immediately now and present and if we can't get a result now an evidence base a and all that kind of stuff we're not interested cultural change takes time it takes years and well the great examples using restorative approaches we started practice is here on Guernsey this particular image is from a young man who was working on a photography exhibition this is a photographer autograph that he took in the prison and he titled it trust imagine how many people work in the kitchen in prison some for violent crimes and they're allowed to use knives titled trust some of the work that we do there is initially it was victim-offender meetings whereby probation service what they would do was anybody who had a client there that there was a clear and identify him what they would do is talk to that person about the use of a restorative approach and perhaps meeting with their victim to allow the victim to have a voice because let's face it in our criminal justice system here if you've been harmed in any way you may sit in the public gallery you are the most affected but the least involved in that process what restorative justice does is give victims a voice and allow you some answers as to why and what happened and how it's impacted your life and so what we've had are some really successful meetings between prisoners who have had their their victims come into the prison in a safe environment to talk about what's happened as far as I am aware every single perpetrator that has then been released has not gone back to prison and the victim has been allowed to express how they've been affected how they feel and move on and that in essence is what we started justice at that end of the continuum is it's given victims a voice and a chance to have their life back I might add that it's actually not a panacea and your office out there thinking you know if this is a cure-all there is within the world of restorative practice there are what I call some psychopathic optimists who think that you know world peace will break out if we adopt restorative approaches that that's not the case but where people engage for all the right reasons there's amazing preparation before you put two people in a room together I think the longest case that I've had in in this island was a year of preparation before bringing people together wearing you there be in a safe environment one of the most wonderful I traveled to Cardiff quite a bit when I first was in to work in there HMP there and I was privileged to be involved in a restorative meeting whereby a guy was driving home one night and he got his mobile phone and as broad and was driving away dropped his mobile phone and as he went to pick it up mounted the curb and here man and a man ended up on a life-support machine and they came the day that his wife had to make the decision whether or not determine machining off and they had to pull his six-year-old boy off him and his wife said I want to know about the man who did this and what she couldn't know and didn't know was that he was suicidal it was a tragic tragic accident what victims support in Cardiff did was arrange a meeting for them to come face-to-face and to talk about what had happened to talk about the impact and at the end of an hour-and-a-half meeting she walked around the table hugged the man and said enough people have died already this is a really powerful process when people engage with it for the right reasons and I'm proud to leave it in Guernsey and I'm proud of a lot of the stuff we're doing in the criminal justice system we have a robust strategic framework put in place so that we can allow this kind of healing that the criminal justice just by itself does not provide one of the really exciting things that I'm allowed to do is to work creatively in community as well because there's a whole continuum of restorative approaches and we started practice because it's about what does healthy community look like what do we look like at our best you know Mark's already talked about this being the best place to live by 2020 we started practice would be a huge foundational integral part of that making it happen one of the wonderful things that we do is work with the Arts Commission I know a lot Ian our team today and this is one of the most exciting projects recently that we did with local artist Hugh Rose and the challenge was it was all on the back of the Banksy s Gallup that appeared down at they all said Peter poet school and you know what the pallava oh my goodness you know terrible stuff that people should actually paint on walls so we thought what we would do is address this in a creative restorative way so we got together a bunch of shall we say spirited young people from one of the estates who most people had given up on on working creatively with and addressing their kind of responsibilities and what we thought would be a great idea was to address the whole issue of morals and values and so we went out and looked at the gun thing and then we always remember that he was giving a talk on street art and graffiti and he's done this many occasions but never with a bunch of people with Asperger's and ADHD we got them in this classroom and they were all on you know the chairs that have wheels because the can't sit still and what was happening was these kids were flying around the room at all angles while poor who was trying to deliver this this talk on street art and he kept looking at me soon as if say why is it going on I'd say no they're here they've not liked it you're all right keep going I come the end of it what we did then it was it was fantastic I've seen loads of good questions and then what we did it within the big sports hall we got loads of what I just said were words and there are actually values and morals and I said pick three that are important to you and so some just grabbed the first thing they could some spent ages there and others were playing basketball but basically what happened we got them and I was I was actually quite nervous about this because you know circle times are great things but they're very difficult for people who can't sit still for five minutes I'm struggling to actually stand in this red spot as we speak but what we managed to do as I said pick the one that's most important to you and these words on the top are the words that they're chills and the one I just want to briefly talk about was the one that says flexibility and we came to this young girl and I said what is it about that word that's important to you and she said mom says that we have to be flexible because Gran's forgetting who we are and we have to be flexible for now these were kids that people are giving up on in our local community and after a morning with us with the Commission's they were producing were like that what who did then in the afternoon was to translate what those words might look like with animals and this is what they're produced and it's about that site a fantastic opportunity to work creatively young people to challenge them on what it means to be a human being that can contribute to society in a healthy way to not stigmatize them just because of where they're from but to work with them that helped me grow very quickly some that time another thing company chameleon came over and and what we did again was creatively trying to engage with young people we got a bunch of lads and girls from the Jenaya state who'd never seen a dance this they performed this 15-minute piece called push which is all about aggression and conflict and it was amazing to see these young people who clearly had not seen a dance before and their reaction to them and what we got them to do afterwards was to talk about how they thought that they were feeling in the dance and then how it made them feel and it just proves to me this is one of the reasons why we need artists because they express the inexpressible they speak a language that we perhaps don't speak ourselves but we do understand and that's why we connect so deeply with them and that's why the young people on that day connected subject through this some of them we didn't even know if someone we're gonna stay you know as we started but by the end of it they were producing these wonderful works of art expressing through I remember one of them was a lot of sort of stars in the heart because it was old pop pop pop and they were so excited by what they'd seen again showing the transformation that's possible I think sometimes it can all seem rather overwhelming and not possible but for me the restorative practice an approach has been made possible because in every area that I work there's a group of champions there's a group of people who say I believe in this and I want to make a difference and you people are those people who can make a difference I know Paulus is up there from the Rondon and she has committed that a way of being in that school over the past six or seven years there's transformed the way that those young people behave and how they deal with the problems and conflicts that occur so Margaret's right it's the only thing that ever has I want to finish with just one story and I'm going to read it this is been given permission to use this from a mother of a girl who we worked with quite a number of years ago now and she said this during the four months our daughter was bullied she went from being a bubbly happy girl to a shadow of herself she was unable to eat or sleep properly and one day refused to go to school as she could no longer cope she cried a lot stop smiling and became socially isolated her grades dropped and at one point we considered possible referrals the RJ was an absolute godsend restorative justice meeting it covers her daughter back but more importantly it gave her hope the young people involved accepted responsibility for their actions and finally the whole nasty business came to an end our girl finally had her life back and in no time at all she was smiling and back out with the friends her grades improved and she was happier to go to school so once again many thanks for all the wonderful efforts of your team and I definitely will be spreading the word on restorative practice and just how much of an impact it can have you

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