Forum 6.3 - Responses to the Political Community
I think that the most difficult political principle to put into effect would be a shift from retributive to restorative justice. A wholesale overhaul of the justice system would be required. And if course the roots of criminal behavior lie in other areas of our society. I see many problems, but don't even know where to begin to help. I think I'd start with youth and schools. Teen court is a big step in the right direction. Schools that avoid suspension and provide alternative consequences for "crimes" in school are making a start. We just need more early intervention and training in ways of handling behavior issues in children to move away from a harsh retributive way of dealing with problems
I'm really encouraged by work done by UMW supported institutions that offer after school programs, programs to support parents, and help with adjudicated youth. In NC, the work being done by Methodist Home for Children, for example, is making strides toward a restorative justice approach to troubled children. I also think that school resource officers are a huge asset to kids. I know several who work daily to counsel students and support them in efforts to make better decisions and straighten out their lives. Our church has a mission to pray for all law enforcement officers we signed up for specific ones. I made sure to sign up for the SROs. I hold them and their work in my heart.