Tribal Justice

Publications

Inspired by Peacemaking: Creating Community Based Restorative Programs in State Courts

Inspired by Peacemaking: Creating Community Based Restorative Programs in State Courts

By Erika Sasson and Nora Sydow

This document describes the Native American method of peacemaking—a non-adversarial form of justice focusing on restoration and the long-term healing of relationships—and offers detailed guidelines for implementation by state courts. The authors consider how incorporating peacemaking can help state courts strengthen public trust in justice by involving the community in settling disputes and help courts towards their goal of becoming more responsive to trauma in the populations they serve. The document profiles four peacemaking programs in state courts and concludes with stories of disputes brought before the Red Hook Peacemaking Program in Brooklyn, N.Y. Undertaken in collaboration with the National Center for State Courts, this document was prepared with support from the State Justice Institute.

Publications

Community Perceptions of Youth Gang Activity: Results from Four Tribal Sites

Community Perceptions of Youth Gang Activity: Results from Four Tribal Sites

By Elise Jensen, Amanda Cissner and Warren A. Reich

This study sought to document the nature and extent of youth gang involvement in Indian Country. Through interviews at four tribal sites, we identified three primary themes: the prevalence and characteristics of youth gangs; the prevention, intervention, and suppression strategies developed by tribes to counter them; and more general problems faced by tribal youth—such as substance use and suicidality—that may be more pressing to address than concerns over gang activity. Indeed, the study’s findings suggest that previous accounts of gang activity among tribal youth may have been overstated. The report concludes with a set of recommendations for funders and those looking to conduct research in tribal settings.

Publications

Can Restorative Practices Address Intimate Partner Violence? Summary of a Roundtable Discussion

Can Restorative Practices Address Intimate Partner Violence? Summary of a Roundtable Discussion

By Erika Sasson

In May 2016, victim advocates, restorative justice practitioners, tribal peacemakers, prosecutors, federal policymakers, and others came together in Santa Fe, N.M., to discuss whether and how restorative practices could be used to safely and effectively respond to intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and dating violence. This document synthesizes a complex discussion into a series of themes for future reflection and planning around the issues raised. The national roundtable was convened by the Center for Court Innovation and the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and was sponsored by the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

To Read the Monograph on the Same Topic

Publications

Combatting Domestic Violence in Indian Country: Are Specialized Domestic Violence Courts Part of the Solution?

Combatting Domestic Violence in Indian Country: Are Specialized Domestic Violence Courts Part of the Solution?

By Kathryn Ford

Domestic violence is one of the most pressing problems facing Native American and Alaska Native communities. Although the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act recognizes the authority of tribes to prosecute non-Native offenders, more tools are needed. This paper explores whether specialized domestic violence courts, which focus on enhancing victim safety and promoting offender accountability, can be part of a multi-faceted approach for tribal justice systems to address domestic violence.

 

Publications

Planning a Problem-Solving Justice Initiative: A Toolkit for Tribal Communities

Planning a Problem-Solving Justice Initiative: A Toolkit for Tribal Communities

Tribal courts around the country are exploring the use of problem-solving justice, which offers a way to blend the adversarial process with more traditional practices that focus on healing and restoration. This toolkit offers tribal justice planners a step-by-step guide to developing effective problem-solving justice initiatives.

 

Publications

Protect, Heal, Thrive: Lessons Learned from the Defending Childhood Demonstration Program

Protect, Heal, Thrive: Lessons Learned from the Defending Childhood Demonstration Program

By Rachel Swaner, Lama Hassoun Ayoub, Elise Jensen and Michael Rempel

The National Institute of Justice funded the Center for Court Innovation to evaluate the Defending Childhood Demonstration Program. The evaluation produced a series of reports describing how stakeholders at each site organized themselves to create and implement a strategic plan; detailing each site’s model; and clearly delineating lessons and actionable recommendations for other jurisdictions that might be interested in replicating the process. This report provides a cross-site synthesis of implementation strategies, lessons learned, and recommendations drawn from six of the demonstration program sites—including separate, crisply described recommendations for other jurisdictions, for tribal jurisdictions in particular, for funding agencies, for technical assistance providers, and for evaluators.

Listen to an Interview with the Researchers

Listen to an Interview with the Cuyahoga County Defending Childhood Initiative team

Listen to an Interview with the Grand Forks County Defending Childhood Initiative team

Read More

Publications

Peacemaking Circles: Evaluating a Native American Restorative Justice Practice in a State Criminal Court Setting in Brooklyn

Peacemaking Circles: Evaluating a Native American Restorative Justice Practice in a State Criminal Court Setting in Brooklyn

By Suvi Hynynen Lambson

This study examines the work of the Red Hook Community Justice Center’s Peacemaking Program, which uses traditional Native American practices to resolve disputes. Participants can avoid the justice system by participating in peacemaking sessions and reaching a consensus agreement for restitution and repair.

Publications

Red Hook Peacemaking Program: A Different Voice

Red Hook Peacemaking Program: A Different Voice

By Erika Sasson

A description of the Peacemaking Program at the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Published on the Kindle Project blog in March 2013.

Read the Original Blog Post

Publications

A Different Approach to Justice

A Different Approach to Justice

By Erika Sasson

This article describes Native American peacemaking as an alternative to the Canadian justice system's "overreliance on punitive and isolationsist tactics." Published in Policy Options, February 2013.

Publications

Responses to Domestic Violence in Tribal Communities: A Regional Survey of Northern California

Responses to Domestic Violence in Tribal Communities: A Regional Survey of Northern California

By Bryn Herrschaft and Stephanie Dolan

This report details the results of a regional survey of Northern California tribal communities focused on domestic violence. The goal was to assess the prevalence of domestic violence victimization, as well as perceptions regarding community and justice system responses to these incidents.

Publications

Widening the Circle: Can Peacemaking Work in Non-Tribal Communities?

Widening the Circle: Can Peacemaking Work in Non-Tribal Communities?

By Robert V. Wolf

A guide for justice planners seeking to adapt Native American peacemaking to a non-tribal setting. After providing an overview of peacemaking, the report outlines key issues jurisdictions will most likely want to consider during planning and implementation.

Publications

Peacemaking Today: Highlights of a Roundtable Discussion Among Tribal and State Practitioners

Peacemaking Today: Highlights of a Roundtable Discussion Among Tribal and State Practitioners

By Robert V. Wolf

This report summarizes the discussion at a roundtable on peacemaking hosted by the Center for Court Innovation, with the support of the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance, as part of a planning process to create a pilot peacemaking program in the New York State court system.

Publications

The Indian Child Welfare Act: Improving Compliance through State-Tribal Coordination

The Indian Child Welfare Act: Improving Compliance through State-Tribal Coordination

By Justine van Straaten and Paul G. Buchbinder

This paper reviews some of the current challenges associated with following the mandates set forth in the Indian Child Welfare Act and offers suggestions for how state and tribal jurisdictions can work collaboratively to improve compliance.

Publications

State and Tribal Court: Strategies for Bridging the Divide

State and Tribal Court: Strategies for Bridging the Divide

By Aaron Arnold, Sarah Cumbie Reckess and Robert V. Wolf

This monograph describes the current landscape of collaboration between state and tribal justice systems, detailing the history, barriers to effective cooperation, and promising recent developments in the field.

Publications

Journal of Court Innovation

Journal of Court Innovation

A special issue devoted to tribal justice. The articles and interviews examine some of the pressing challenges facing tribal courts as well as the changing relationships of federal, state, and tribal justice systems.

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