CERJ is engaged in various very effective Internet-based advocacy for

Equity-

Restorative Justice - a mission intended to elevate the scholarly,

intellectual and moral levels of the Internet's various public crime and

justice policy colloquia. CERJ also educates the public to the fact that

vengeful retribution is not justice at all, and is in fact deeply

destructive of the 'fabric' of society, and that in order to achieve

authentic justice, public policies must instead manifest those noble,

humane, and constructive qualities traditionally associated with justice.

Specifically, CERJ raises the public's consciousness as to the true status

of fairness and equity as a cardinal component of justice, and demonstrates

that some community-driven types of justice processes are uniquely suited

to the conservation, restoration, and creation of equity and

community-interpersonal good will.

 

In our work for meaningful and radical justice reform, CERJ is educating

the public in favor of more constructive and positive manifestations of

justice. In particular, we believe that since most people are conditioned

to look exclusively to governments for justice, a new popular awareness as

to the true communitarian nature of justice needs to be developed. While

restraining some deeply-disturbed persons from the public continues to be

necessary for the prevention of violative behavior (and government can

continue to play roles in this respect), CERJ is committed to the precepts

that true justice is a function of community, and that for justice

processes to be restorative of equity, they must be community-driven --

that is, operated by local non-profit or public sector community groups or

authorities -- and must preserve offenders' roles as productive members of

their communities whenever this is possible and advisable.

 

CERJ's Resolution or 'Full-Stop' Proposal: acting as an organizational

catalyst for changes in public policies, CERJ advances proposals and

resolutions against public policies leading to over-incarceration, and

especially against the recent and alarming incursion of large for-profit

corporate interests into the justice fields (this trend has created a

'prison-industrial complex' which, by gaining a political back-room

(influence-peddling) dominance of public policy-making, is fueling the

corrupt and insane trend toward incarcerating larger and larger segments of

the United States' population). CERJ's advocacy agenda includes a

moratorium

on the building of new prisons; the first proposal in a reasonable and

'do-able' four-point criminal justice reform plan proposed in 1991 by the

late Vermont Quaker justice reform activist Fay Honey Knopp. In order to

more consistently provide rehabilitation opportunities for those currently

incarcerated, CERJ also advocates for the placement of incarcerated persons

in facilities close to their families and communities of origin.

 

CERJ also advocates for the careful substitution of Vermont-model

Reparative Probation for the currently-dominant but ineffective

'casework-oriented' probation methods. However, there are major pitfalls

to be avoided if government is to be involved on a limited basis as an

organizer or catalyst in the development of Equity-Restorative Justice

programming, and CERJ is able to assist agencies in understanding what

these kinds of problems are and how to avoid them.

 

At the local level, CERJ activists organize community justice initiatives,

engage in local and other public policy debates, and raise the general

public's awareness of, and active commitment to, practical

Equity-Restorative Justice methods. CERJ activists accomplish these goals

through their work for the CERJ initiative itself, or for any of CERJ's

component organizational coalition members. There is a long list of things

people can do to work for Equity-Restorative Justice; in fact, there is

something meaningful for almost everybody to do.

 

Through the work of its individual activists and its coalition member

organizations, CERJ promotes Equity-Restorative Justice (ERJ) methods of

all kinds, including peer mediation, sentencing circles and conferencing

models, VORPs (Victim-Offender Reconciliation Programs), Victim-Offender

Mediation (VOM), Court Diversion programs, the Alternatives to Violence

Project (AVP), Victim Impact and Empathy Panels, and Community Justice

Planning (a practice built around the Topsfield Foundation's Justice Study

Circles method). Since many of these organizations are almost exclusively

volunteer-driven, CERJ is also planning eventual federated annual giving

campaigns to solicit charitable support for those organizations which

actually propagate and promulgate the actual methods themselves.

 

To support its own organizational mission, CERJ will also mount several

signature community-based development and public education initiatives such

as walk-a-thons. These will be 'packaged' as events which any CERJ

coalition organization can use, with by far the largest share of funds

raised going to the coalition participant organizations themselves.

 

If you give your permission for CERJ to communicate with you through this

medium, CERJ will share with you upon request all of our gathered email

addresses for your state or provincial jurisdiction, and will carefully

consider requests for access or postings to our entire rapidly-growing

international database of addresses, particularly for public education and

activism purposes. However, CERJ will never release your email address to

anyone outside the dedicated and principled circle of activists that

constitutes the CERJ organization, and will never sell your address or

knowingly permit it to be used for commercial purposes.

 

So 'CERJers' are mending the fabric of society. Please visit the CERJ web

page (see below for the URL address) or write to me if you have any

questions. I hope we can work together in the Campaign for

Equity-Restorative Justice.

 

==============================================================

John Wilmerding * <jvw@together.net> * http://www.cerj.org

 

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