By Cindy Scharr, Delaware County Daily Times CHESTER — District attorneys from Southeastern Pennsylvania on Wednesday urged state and federal lawmakers to increase funding for early education programs for at-risk children in an effort to boost high school graduation ratesRead More
Dianne Walker still recalls the moment she had a revelation about taking action with the criminal justice system. August 13, 2004, Walker concluded a four month ordeal dealing with a false allegation against her. Prior to the incident Walker owned and operated a nail salon in Salida, Colorado. She had no knowledge of how the justice system operates and had never been arrested.
Walker’s eyes were open to what actually happens when an individual is accused of a crime. A plea-bargain was made, Walker was sentenced to two-years probation after coming extremely close to spending time in jail. She was rushed out of the court room and that was that.
The baffling veracity of the criminal justice system became clear to Walker. The truth is not a priority nor are the victim and offender encouraged to interact with each other. The main objective is to ensure the offender is punished and pays by either probation fees or incarceration time.
Walker was bewildered with the entire process and knew she could not merely walk away after experiencing the reality of what goes on within the justice system. In Walker’s mind, the day she gazed at the court document stating her decree, marked the beginning of a life-long quest to advocate for a more authentic way to process cases through the justice system.
Full Circle Restorative Justice was founded in 2006 for the purpose of enhancing the safety of the community by holding offenders accountable, and empowering victims through a supportive conflict resolution process.
The legal system asks: What laws have been broken? Who did it? What do they deserve?
Restorative Justice asks: Who has been hurt? What are their needs? Whose obligations are these?
1789: Correctional Education Movement in the United States began with clergyman (Religious Society of Friends) William Rogers offering instruction to inmates at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Jail.
1816: Elizabeth Fry began teaching women inmates and their children to read in London’s Newgate Gaol. This example later served as a model for American women prison reformers.
1820s: Rival penitentiary plans were put into effect: The Auburn ( New York ) Plan had inmates sleep alone but come together to work. The Pennsylvania Model kept prisoners in solitary confinement for the entire period of their incarceration.
1820s & 1830s: American women concerned themselves with the plight of female prisoners during the Second Great Awakening, which popularized perfectionist theology, advocating the possibility of individual and social salvation.
1825: The first institution for juvenile delinquents, the New York House of Refuge, opened its doors. Prior to this, children were often housed with adults in prisons.
1826: Jared Curtis became the first chaplain of New York ‘s Auburn Prison. He gave 160 students in 31 classes Bible instruction.