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Hon. Judge Salvatore Alamia-Topic- Restorative Justice
August 14, 2009 @ 12:00 am EDT
Members and Friends
We certainly took a departure from our usual programming this morning. Our speaker was district court judge Hon. Salvatore Alamia.
Judge Alamia is engaged in the area of “restorative justice”. He emphasized the crimes arising from drug use and crimes related to drugs. Bringing these people back into society is sometimes considered “coddling”. That was his term, but not his opinion.
Judge Alamia stressed that the need to reintegrate offenders was not only possible but also practical. Citing the cost and detrimental effects on the violator and society are enormous.
The better solution to “lock ’em up and get them out of here” is having people who have broken the law, to acknowledge their crime, serve the appropriate penalty and place them back in society. According to the judge, we already incarcerate more citizens than most other nations. The goal is to limit the number of required incarcerations.
He cited the councils that existed among the American Indians. They would place all the participants in a circle and that circle expressed an equality of the participants. The elders would discuss remedies to the bad behavior they were judging and how to re-integrate the offender. In a simple society this makes sense, but there is also an application for our own lives.
In modern society there are always multiple “victims”. The family of the offender suffers the embarrassment, and cost of legal defense. The neighbors feel less secure in their homes, and of course, there is the direct victim of a crime. The perpetrator of a crime is affected by his actions too, but he is a less sympathetic figure. Never the less, he has to be considered, if for no other reason than to prevent a repeat performance. In restorative justice these interested parties are assembled for the purpose of closure of the matter, with reasonable reassurance that the crime would not be repeated.