Sunday, November 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

What I’ve learned as a Neighborhood Court facilitator

By
From page A13 | October 20, 2013 |

By Judith MacBrine

On June 6, I facilitated my first Neighborhood Court session. I am one of seven trained facilitators. I was drawn to Neighborhood Court because it uses restorative justice principles to resolve crimes — i.e., identify and repair the harms — as compared to our current punitive justice — i.e., identify the broken law and punish the offender.

With all of the problems associated with the criminal justice system — cost, overcrowding, lag time, recidivism, discrimination — I am thrilled to help find another way to justice. I didn’t expect, however, to be personally impacted by the process.

As a facilitator, I witness offenders shift from being community outsiders (“What? My actions have impacts? You see me?”) to being valued and welcomed members of the community fabric. The majority of cases I’ve heard so far involve UC Davis students and visitors — bright young adults who don’t seem to understand that they impact the Davis community.

Community panelists bring their humanity to conversations about the harms caused to our community and the ways offenders can restore those harms. I’m always surprised by which panelist will share what thing that cracks open and expands an offender’s worldview to see himself or herself as part of the community. Similarly, I’m always surprised by the authenticity, vulnerability and openness the offenders bring to the process.

As an individual, I’ve had to look at my own part in enabling the kinds of crimes we hear in Neighborhood Court. Three of the seven houses that border my home are rentals. My neighborhood of families and retirees has become a mixed student/family neighborhood. I have had to face my own attitudes about students as “others” in our neighborhood … those noisy, party-throwing, loud, crazy-driving people who disturb my peace. Even though I’ve yet to call the police out for a noise complaint, I’ve thought about it.

This year, however, rather than live in the Land of Homeowner vs. Other, I’m committed to shifting our relationship to one of neighborly neighbors. I will know and be known by my transient neighbors. I will start to see them as who they are and who they aspire to be rather than the “others” I have kept at bay. I hope they will see us, too: a husband who gets up early to drive to Sacramento to teach and care for, with dignity and respect, his classroom of 10 teens, all with severe disabilities; a wife who catches the first flight to Maryland to teach rocket scientists at NASA how to embrace diversity and use their privilege consciously as medicine for society; a family living with lots of love and purpose and plenty of life experience to know what it’s like to make mistakes along the way.

As a community member and a systems coach, I know that crime happens inside a community system that shares responsibility for it. The final and oft-forgotten principle of restorative justice is: “to strengthen the community to own its responsibility for causes that lead to crime, thereby preventing future harm.”

What I have learned is that we, in Davis, have an alcohol problem. Up until now, I’ve chosen to be blind to it and think of it is an individual’s issue. Neighborhood Court has shown me that it’s really a community issue.

The issue of alcohol in Davis is diverse and complex. Alcohol is science and education (e.g., UCD department of viticulture and enology; UCD Extension master’s of brewing program). Alcohol is civic pride, commerce, tax revenue, employment. Alcohol is entertainment, bonding ritual, rite of passage, form of self-medication for stress and mental health issues. Alcohol is public drain of police, correctional, emergency and medical resources. These are only a few of the perspectives that represent what alcohol is to Davis.

As we start to look at the community’s role in enabling the crimes that Neighborhood Court is hearing, I hope we will open our eyes and begin to engage this elephant called alcohol that is running through town … peeing in public, falling down drunk, disturbing neighborhoods, causing fights.

I offer my skills as a facilitator and systems coach to begin this needed community conversation. We can be a community that enjoys and celebrates alcohol while at the same time 1) addressing the community issues that enable people to break our community laws and 2) creating structures that help people find their way free should they get caught up in the abuse of alcohol.

Thank you to the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office for bringing the powerful community tool of restorative justice to Davis.

— Judith MacBrine is a Davis resident.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Hollywood readies its big guns for the holidays

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Need for local foster parents grows

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
Tactical robot decreases officer risks

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Couple arrested on drug, firearm possession charges

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Woman confronts suspicious follower

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Bob Dunning: Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Berkeley, Santa Cruz students protest fee hikes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Auction-bound student artwork stolen in downtown heist

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

UCD awarded $100M to lead program to predict, prevent pandemic threats

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Breakfast with Santa tickets are going fast

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Free boot camp, yoga fundraiser this week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Enterprise observes holiday hours

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Bell-ringers still needed this holiday season

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Thanksgiving feast is open to all

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Give blood and get a free movie ticket

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Workshop will answer financial aid questions

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Probationers, parolees graduate from Yolo transitional program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Round up at the registers for Davis schools

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Museum announces holiday schedule

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Yolo Food Bank invites locals to run with the flock

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
At the Pond: Stop, look and listen

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
Swing your partner!

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A6

Fairfield School enjoys a festive feast

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Right at home: gifts you can use and use up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Dec. 10 jeans drive benefits STEAC

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

 
Davis Community Church history recounted in Sunday talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Open your heart

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Bob Hope interview pulled from ‘the vault’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

.

Forum

There’s only one way to fix this

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Students barking up the wrong tree

By Our View | From Page: A14

Heartbroken over treatment of teacher

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

 
Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A14

Google, tell me. Is my son a genius?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

 
Daryl Cagle cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A15

Cordial political discourse: Seven years later, the thoughts resonate

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

 
Easing the stress during college application season

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

How I want to be remembered

By Marion Franck | From Page: A16

 
Watch out for holiday weight gain

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16

 
.

Sports

Aggie men finish off Furman

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Upset-minded Lions bounce UCD from WWPA tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

New, old-look helmets not enough to lift UCD footballers

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Late shot sinks Aggie women

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Turnovers costly as UC Davis loses Classic, 41-30

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Seniors play well in Aggie volleyball loss

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Wire briefs: Kings get past depleted T-Wolves

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
With volleyball playoff berth, DHS accomplished its 2014 goal

By Evan Ream | From Page: B6 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

 
Don’t pass up the parking gift downtown

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13

Doby Fleeman: Give thanks for our innovation culture

By Doby Fleeman | From Page: A20

 
Honey, spreads showcased at open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A20

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, November 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8