Creating a Respectful Justice System

Mark Stanley-Bey


This year for Night Out for Safety and Liberation, we asked people who are currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison in California to share their thoughts about what safety means. Read the below post by Mark Stanley-Bey:

Restorative justice isn’t a game nor a toy. It’s a concept that is as old as a free thinking man (aka mankind) revealed in many aspects today. We as humans, in our natural state of universal laws, can bring restorative justice to the forefront of our minds. Meaning, if humanity seeks to restore itself to balance the universe, even the universe will do the same. Why or what would make mankind think that it was immune of the laws of universal restorative justice?

Cause and effect are elements of restorative justice and are reflected in the models below. All three models engender thoughts of manifesting these four values: respect, care, trust and humanity. Specifically, restorative justice is the focus that comes naturally in all free thinking men and women.

A grounded justice system’s respect is recognized and needed in the aspects of accountability, restoration, and healing. Insight into respect comes through listening to and validating the experiences regarding everyone impacted by crime. A respectful justice system can be designed to treat everyone with dignity and worth.

Care is within a restorative justice system when individual and mutual accountability and responsibility are valued pertaining to everyone impacted by a crime.

Justice systems utilizing restorative justice values promote the common good by advocating accountability and healing. A  justice system operating with the restorative justice values of openness, honesty, consistency, confidentiality and dependability reassures us that these are valued components designed to balance and share power where justice participants can trust in the justice response they’ve created. Basically, a restorative justice system is one that does not assume to know everything or presume it has all the answers. However, it places itself in a humble position to learn from and understand everyone affected by crime. Though these models represent a microcosm, there is a macrocosm that they convey. The first is, without trust, one cannot go forward. Next, without humility one cannot see the picture in a real time aspect. Without respect no one is bound to the falsehood which only promotes negating energy. Finally, without care one is timely bound to be insensitive to information and input from a positive aspect.

Take a look at these models and allow yourself the freedom to engender thoughts moving forward with justice systems as we do in T4 restorative justice design group:

  • The semi-square of the clients building as round/straight to engender freedom and safety. No real sharp corners give way to open space/privacy co-mingled.
  • The circle building for the client’s family and those harmed by the crime was designed with the mindset of the semi-square building. Cycling in the energy of change of yin and yang  and the nautilus perspective
  • The barn building and the accompanying area engender working together with nature to gain sustainable elements in the T-4 design like solar energy. Food harvested through farming and animal contribution

Thus, in the light of recent events from Orlando to Dallas the need for feeling safe is in place. One must seriously contemplate restorative justice and its design system in real time—and not just in words, but in action.

-T-4 restorative justice Design Group