Consider the following scenario: You are a sworn police officer, but because you possess a college degree in criminal justice, you have been assigned to work for 6 months to a year as a staff officer in the office of the chief of police. Your chief came up through the ranks at a time when community-policing programs were a new aspect of social policy designed to create a more positive image of police officers as partners with neighborhood organizations and communities.
Recently, there have been some skirmishes between members of the African-American community and Somali refugee groups, and most of the perpetrators on both sides are juveniles, although some are adults. The Somali community members were resettled in your city and several others on humanitarian grounds as part of a federally supported program to aid people fleeing their nations in the aftermath of war.
Other cities with significant Somali refugee communities include the following:
- Columbus, Ohio
- Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
- Hartford, Connecticut
- Salt Lake City, Utah
In your city ,the individual cases where fighting occurred between Somali refugees and members of the African-American community have been dealt with through the courts where appropriate, but the chief would like to understand the issues better to respond with proactive solutions to the potential for escalated violence. He has had a meeting with the administrative director of the courts and is anxious for the police department to explore the possibility of working with the juvenile court system in the city to establish a program through which crimes of youth offenders could be addressed outside of traditional judicial proceedings.
One possibility raised in this meeting was establishing a victim/offender program based on restorative justice, sometimes called restorative dialogue. An emphasis on working with the African-American and Somali refugee community issues would be the focus of a pilot program. You have been assigned to write a short report for the chief focusing on the following issues:
- He wants a better understanding of the issues causing the violence.
- He would like to know whether similar problems have occurred in other cities where Somali refugee communities have settled and how these were handled.
- He would like to be made aware of the range of options for dispute resolution including alternative approaches (ADR or alternative dispute resolution).
- He wants your thoughts and recommendations.
This is your chance to have an important influence on the shape of social policy in your city.
- Address the following in 4–6 pages:
- Provide sufficient background about the resettlement of Somali refugees in U.S. communities to help your chief understand the context, with particular attention to key factors that you believe could be contributing to violent outbreaks between the refugees and members of the African-American community.
- Include any information that you can find about whether other U.S. cities with communities of Somali refugees have faced similar problems, report on their analysis of why these problems occurred, and indicate how those cities addressed the outbreaks of violence.
- List and describe the primary forms of established approaches to alternative dispute resolution, but ensure to also include the less well-known approach of victim/offender dialogue (also known as restorative dialogue).
- To address the Chief’s particular interests, discuss victim/offender programs based in the restorative justice/restorative dialogue approach in your report.
- Include enough information to enable the chief of police to understand the ways in which this approach relates to other nonjudicial forms of dispute resolution and how it could be useful for his intended purposes in working with the juvenile courts.
- Provide your recommendations to the chief in this report, and conclude with your own thoughts about how a program using one or more alternative forms of dispute resolution where juvenile offenders are concerned could have positive outcomes in terms of social policy.
- For example, a program allowing for results that would help neighborhoods and the city as well as reduce the number of court cases and the incarceration of juveniles. Include possible problems or disadvantages.
- Be sure to reference all sources using APA style.
Please submit your assignment.
For assistance with your assignment, please use your text, Web resources, and all course materials.