Restorative Justice

Circle Sentencing

A Native American Tradition Is Offered as A Sentencing Alternative

Under the supervision of Circuit Judge Tracy McCooey, Montgomery County started a group of community members trained to use a Native American tradition when sentencing Criminal defendants.  Trained facilitators will begin to take cases during the summer of 2004.  The program and materials are available to other Alabama courts that may also wish to implement the program.

Unlike a traditional sentencing in which a judge hears from the prosecutor and the defense lawyer in a courtroom, then sentences the defendant, participants in circle sentencing meet outside the courtroom and literally sit in a circle.  Choosing circle sentencing is voluntary for the defendant

Everyone affected by the crime is invited to attend and take part in the circle, including the defendant, the victim, their families, and any community members that may have been involved or affected.  Participants are allowed to speak one by one.  Every circle has a “talking piece” and a person is allowed to speak only while holding the object.  The group must then reach consensus on the sentence, which then must be approved by the judge.  Circle sentencing is used in circuit court to resolve criminal situations, but has also been used effectively at the LIFE Tech Transitional Center where women who are making the change from prison life  to the free world have used it to deal with gossip, housekeeping issues, and stresses of living in a group environment.

Presiding Circuit Judge Charles Price gave his approval to the program, and attended the facilitators’ graduation.

  

 

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Private Judges

The Alabama Private Judge Act authorized the appointment of former or retired judges to serve as private judges in certain district and circuit court cases. - More -

Arbitrators

Arbitration agreements, are often found in pre-printed consumer contracts. They require parties to the contract to resolve disputes in binding arbitration, rather than in court before a judge and/or jury. - More -

Mediators

Mediation is a confidential, informal process during which an impartial third party, the mediator, assists disputing parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement regarding their dispute.

  • General Mediation offers a path to resolving many disputes. - More -
  • Family Mediation offers free divorce and family mediation for parenting, divorce and post-divorce issues. - More -
  • Forclosure Prevention and Mortgage Modification Mediation offers specially-trained mediators to assist Alabama citizens with foreclosure and mortgage problems by mediating between the homeowner and the mortgage holder. - More -

 


 


WHO WE ARE

Alabama CDR is the state office of dispute resolution. At the Center, we work with the courts, the Alabama State Bar, state agencies, schools, community mediation initiatives, and businesses to promote early and peaceful resolution of disputes. We are the administrative arm of the Alabama Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution.

GET IN TOUCH

Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution
PO Box 5042, Montgomery, Alabama 36103-5042
assistant@alabamaadrfor adr.org
(334) 356-3802

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