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However, they are unlikely to think about these experiences as involving forces, i. It is common for students to think that all metals are attracted by magnets, and that the size of magnets determines their strength. Students may appear to think the Earth is a sphere but nevertheless consider, for example, that people live on a flat place either on top of the sphere or inside it. This idea is also explored in the focus idea Day and night.
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This idea is also explored in the focus idea Gravity. There are three examples of such fields that we experience in everyday life:. Unlike the other two fields, which can involve both attraction and repulsion, gravity only acts by attraction. All objects attract each other by gravity, but these attractions are too weak to notice unless one object contains a huge amount of matter stuff. Explore the relationships between ideas about forces without contact in the Concept Development Maps —Gravity. Students should be encouraged to explore the effects of magnetic and electric forces.
The main notion to convey here is that forces can act at a distance with no perceivable substance in between. Through their investigations, students can show magnets do not affect all metals but can push or pull other magnets and things made of iron and steel. Part of their investigations should involve compasses, which are magnets that are affected by the magnetic forces from inside the Earth, and magnets of different sizes. Students should also explore what types of materials can be charged by rubbing, and what types of materials are affected by charged objects. The idea that the Earth pulls on objects is difficult for many students.
Students should carry out investigations to explore the idea that objects can experience forces from things that are not touching them. Students can explore the effects of magnets and charged objects on different kinds of objects. Students will often have had experiences with magnets and charged objects, and plenty of experiences involving gravity, but generally will not have linked these experiences to the forces involved. They need to observe the changes in motion of things brought about by magnets and charged objects such as plastic pens, and explore the effects of magnets.
This can be a useful way of promoting discussion and debate, as well as helping to shape further teaching. Circles require a significant commitment from community members, so it is in the community''s interest to limit access to those individuals who demonstrate high levels of motivation and commitment to the process.
The offender must normally enter a plea of guilty at an early stage of the proceedings indicating a full acceptance of responsibility for the offence. Circle sentencing is used almost exclusively for serious cases meaning that the offence is serious or the circumstances of the offender are such as to justify a significant intervention. It should be emphasized that circle sentencing is not a form of diversion, that it is part of the court process and that it results in convictions and criminal records for offenders. The procedure is as straightforward as the name suggests.
Everyone in the community is invited to attend and participate. Chairs are arranged in a circle and the session is chaired either by a respected member of the community, sometimes called ''the keeper of the circle''or by the judge. Usually between 15 and 50 persons are in attendance. The participants in the circle introduce themselves, then the charges are read and the Crown and defence lawyers make brief opening remarks. The community members then speak. A justice system professional participating in a circle for the first time may wonder about the relevance of much of what is said during a circle sentencing.
Unlike a formal court-based sentencing, the discussions focus on more than just the offence and the offender and often include the following matters:. The victim is advised of the offender''s application in advance and is provided with information about the circle process. The victim is assisted in establishing a support group and is encouraged to attend the hearing with the support group. Unlike formal court, where the role of the victim at sentencing is usually limited to providing a victim impact statement, the victim is a full and equal participant in a circle sentencing hearing.
In most cases, these discussions will take from two to eight hours, usually spread out over two separate circle sentencing hearings. Often at the end of the first circle, the offender is given a set of goals to determine if he can follow through with his plan before a final sentencing plan is imposed. The circle will reconvene several weeks, or even months later, to review the offender''s performance and make any necessary changes to the recommended plan.
At this time, the judge will impose the final sentence incorporating the recommendations of the circle. In formal court, the justice system professionals dominate and control the sentencing process.
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The decision imposed by the judge is largely based on legal principles and precedents that may only be marginally relevant to the offender and his community and seldom addresses the real concerns of the victim. In a circle sentencing, the court hears less from the lawyers and more from those directly or indirectly affected by the crime. Circle sentencing has not been authorized by statute but exists solely as a result of judicial discretion. It follows that the procedure is not rigid but must conform to the rules of natural justice and other legal requirements imposed by statute or common law.
For example, the law requires the following safeguards be present in all circle sentencing hearings: 6 1. Any criminal record or any other reports are received and marked as exhibits in the circle hearing process. A record is made of the proceedings. A disputed fact is judicially determined in the usual manner through evidence heard under oath.
The circle hearing is open to the public. The offender must participate voluntarily. The offender is entitled to representation by counsel and to address the circle. A Crown attorney is present and able to speak to the public interest, ensure victim''s issues are fully canvassed and make recommendations with respect to sentence.
Media are allowed to attend and to report on the proceedings, although restrictions may be imposed on attributing statements to specific individuals in the circle. Participants in the circle must have access to any documentation filed with the court, including the pre-sentence report. The judge has the sole responsibility for imposing the sentence, which must be a fit one in accord with the law. The decision is subject to appeal or review in the same manner as any other court decision.
Notwithstanding these common legal requirements there can be substantial differences in how circle sentencing is conducted. These differences arise because community members are directly involved in deciding what the circle process should be and this allows for the inclusion of culture and traditions. Available community resources will influence the kinds of cases the community is prepared to undertake. Judge Stuart makes the argument in favour of diversity:. This is a good and necessary development. Significant differences in demographic composition, cultural, social, economic, and geographic conditions render each community unique.
A process for resolving conflict must accommodate the special circumstances, blessing or hindering the specific ability of each community to process conflict. Recognizing the uniqueness of each community, and the uniqueness of each dispute, warrants departing from the audacious presumption of the formal justice system that ''one process fits all forms of disputes'' Stuart The procedural variations which result from the community being a full partner in the circle sentencing process is at odds with legal culture and the reliance on precedent within the formal justice system.
Several Courts of Appeal have been unable to appreciate the need for flexible rules in a community based justice initiative. Johns, Prowse J. In my view, however, circle sentencing is no longer in its embryonic stages, particularly in the Yukon. That being so, further heed must be paid to the recommendation of the Yukon Territorial Court of Appeal in R. Rather, the communities have been encouraged to develop their own procedures, taking into account their traditions and available human resources. Nevertheless, as circles have similar objectives and must follow due process, the differences are not major.
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After the Circle The result of the circle sentencing hearing is most often a community-based disposition involving supervision and programming. The terms of the order are quite lengthy and detailed, specifying attendance at pre-determined counseling and treatment programs, and may also include culturally relevant conditions that would rarely be found in a probation order made in formal court.
After being sentenced in a circle, the offender''s progress in following the sentencing plan is monitored by his support group, the community Justice Committee if one exists and a probation officer. Thereafter the offender can expect to appear before the circle several times in order to review his progress. How much contact has the probation officer had with the offender during the last review?
Have referrals been made for alcohol assessment and counseling? Has restitution or community service been initiated or completed? Has contact been made with the counselors at the young person''s school?
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Knowing that they will have to report to the circle, the probation officer and other professionals will be more diligent in fulfilling their obligations in a timely manner. Very few offenders who participate in circle sentencing fail to complete their community disposition successfully. Several reasons account for this. It is generally appreciated that circle sentencing dispositions are ''tough''and as a result only those who are truly motivated will apply.
As well, the requirements imposed as a condition of acceptance into the circle are demanding, and those who are not fully committed are screened out prior to sentencing. Most importantly, the sentence plan is an undertaking given by the offender, not to a foreign or faceless justice system, but to his own community.
Impact of the Circle In Canadian Aboriginal communities, there are often ongoing relationships between the offender and the victim, and between their extended families. In a small community, many others can be affected by a criminal offence. The circle provides a safe environment to hear what happened, how it impacted on the victim and the community, how best to fix the damage that was done and how to prevent future offending. It is a restorative process because it requires wrongdoers to make reparation to the victim and to others harmed by the offending behaviour, including the community.
It also expects offenders to restore themselves, meaning that they must address those personal issues that contributed to the offending behaviour, such as addictions, unresolved grief and historical abuse. It also provides a forum for those community members who, while not directly affected by the offence, are generally concerned about safety in their community. Although sentencing circles have evolved significantly since the Moses decision, the goals, and advantages remain largely as stated in that judgment. Since everyone seated in the circle has equal standing, the dominance of the justice system professionals, the judge, lawyers and probation officers, is significantly reduced.
At the same time, the role of the community members, including the victim and the victim''s family, offender''s family, neighbours and other interested persons is increased. This equality within the circle is essential to building a partnership between the community and the justice system.
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The circle process redirects significant responsibility for the offence, offender and victim back to the community. The goal of the circle is to develop a consensus. As a result, the participants do not direct their remarks to the judge. Everyone speaks to the circle. The legal jargon and boilerplate submissions which are much too common in formal court are replaced with questions and information about the offender, victim, and about the resources available in the community.
Much more information is forthcoming about the offender, his personal circumstances, his social history and the factors contributing to his criminal behaviour. The resulting disposition responds to the offender''s needs and his risk factors and makes better use of the limited resources available in the community. The language used in the circle avoids legal jargon and, unlike formal court, can be understood by everyone present.
The judge''s decision, even when in written form, should speak to the community, the offender and the victim. In a circle sentencing, the participants know that whatever the disposition, the offender will be coming back to their community, possibly to live next door. They have seen first hand the negative effects of jail sentences on family members or neighbors. As a consequence, they are much more concerned with rehabilitation and reintegration of the offender and healing of everyone affected by the offence, than with the mythology of general deterrence.
The circle discussions and the involvement of the support group in assisting an accused person, force community members to look beyond the actions of the offender and to address the causes of crime in their community. If an offender re-offends, the community will better understand why, and will be less likely to blame the justice system, the police or the judge.
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In this way, the sentencing circle can be an effective vehicle for public legal education. Circle sentencing shares many of the attributes of family group conferencing, one of which is that the offender must acknowledge responsibility for his actions at a very early stage of the proceedings Maxwell and Morris The victim benefits from knowing at a very early stage that an adversarial trial will be avoided. The acknowledgment of guilt must be made before his family, members of his community and the victim, if present.
Without defence counsel to act as a buffer and to speak on his behalf, the offender must address the circle and explain his actions. He hears directly about the pain and fear experienced by the victim and the disappointment of his family and community. While expressions of remorse in a formal court setting often sound hollow and insincere, the remorse expressed in the circle is emotional, is often accompanied by tears and includes a genuine apology.
The circle allows the offender to participate in shaping the sentence plan, thereby taking back a measure of control over his life. He is extended the dignity of offering to make amends to the victim, his community and his family and to have input into his own healing plan. The circle makes a clear distinction between the ''bad''actions of the offender and the offender himself who, like most people, has many good qualities.
The supportive statements made in the circle by community members usually surprise young offenders.
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This community support contrasts with the negative feedback these same young people often receive from parents, teachers and justice system officials on a regular basis. Less time is spent by the probation officer in supervising the offender as the support group and other family members are sharing this responsibility.
More time is spent in identifying and developing suitable programs, working with and training the offender''s support group. As a result, community development becomes a more significant part of the probation officer''s job description. The circle generates dialogue among the offender, his family and the community.
This process models communication for family members where effective communication is often lacking. But equally as important as dialogue, the process also engages the participants and triggers a full range of emotional responses that are discouraged in the formal justice system Stuart This shared emotion, as much as the shared ownership of the sentencing plan, creates a degree of commitment and responsibility on the part of everyone, including family members, rarely generated in a formal court setting. Critical Commentary Barriers to Implementation Circle sentencing, along with other restorative justice initiatives, face significant barriers to implementation.
As long as the public, encouraged by the media, continues to be anxious about crime, it will be difficult to convince politicians to abandon their ''get tough on crime''policies. Restorative programs such as circle sentencing are wrongly viewed as easy options that are inconsistent with crime reduction.
In order to overcome these barriers, a concerted effort will have to be made to convince the public that jailing offenders and young offenders in particular, for long periods of time is not a cost-effective way to reduce recidivism or to increase public safety Greenwood, Model, Rydall and Chiesa, Circle sentencing is more time consuming and therefore more expensive than processing offenders through the formal court system.
Unlike other restorative processes, it is a court hearing and therefore requires the involvement of a judge along with support staff. It cannot be fully delegated to others, as can family group conferencing or other programs that divert young offenders away from court. As a result, resistance to adopting circle sentencing can be expected from a number of different sources.
Administrative judges will worry about delay and the resulting backlog of cases. Governments may not see beyond the short-term increases in cost to the benefits that may only be realized in the longer term. These longer-term benefits will be difficult to measure and are therefore difficult to sell to the public. For example, greater community participation in the justice system will result in a more informed public, which in turn should reduce public demands for harsher sentences and decrease the need for more jails and corrections staff.
Many justice system professionals, including lawyers, will resist giving up or sharing control with members of the community.
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Judges may also resist giving up their role as ultimate decision-makers. Required by law to impose the sentence, the weight given to circle deliberations will determine whether the community is indeed a full partner. On one hand, the judge may view the circle''s deliberations as merely advisory. The other view is to adopt the recommendation of the circle as long as it falls within the scope of a fit and proper sentence McNamara, Unless the judge is prepared to concede substantial decision-making authority, there will be little motivation for the community to participate.
The Community Most of the reported cases have involved Aboriginals living on reserves or small communities in largely rural or remote locations, where the offender''s community is a geographic one and is well defined. Since nearly everyone in that community has experienced, directly or indirectly, the negative impact of the formal justice system, they are therefore willing to volunteer and participate in a non-retributive alternative. But a large number of Aboriginal people live in major urban centers, away from their immediate families and their original geographic community.
Community in an urban setting, however, need not be defined in geographic terms. A number of urban initiatives that incorporate aspects of circle sentencing have sought to include people with similar experiences and shared interests who understand the issues facing the offender. The underlying philosophy of this project is that the Aboriginal community in Toronto is in a better position to respond to the needs of Aboriginal offenders than is the formal justice system. Aboriginal volunteers participate in the program, reach decisions by consensus and have a wide range of restorative dispositions to draw from, including referrals to treatment.
An evaluation of this project was largely positive Moyer and Axon While it may require a greater effort to identify and involve these urban communities in circle sentencing, the results may be more rewarding, due to the varied experience and educational backgrounds of the participants. There are significant differences in culture among Aboriginal peoples across Canada. Circles and decision-making by consensus may not be part of a particular Aboriginal group''s traditions Cronovich This concern speaks to the importance of communities being directly involved in the preparation and planning of their own community justice initiatives.
Circle sentencing is only one point in the restorative justice continuum and a community may well choose a different one, more consistent with its traditions Lilles As a result, in its eagerness to reject the formal justice system, a community may adopt circle sentencing before it is ready to do so. Circle sentencing, and other community-based initiatives, require a critical mass of healthy participants who are able to support and counsel both victims and offenders. In this sense, healthy refers to emotional health, family stability, and an absence of substance addictions.
For this reason, some communities may not be ready to take on these responsibilities and may require, as a first step, to engage in a broader program of healing L Ellerby and J Bedard In attempting to help their members, communities may take on cases that place too many demands on their available resources. Sexual offending, domestic violence, chronic substance abuse and mental illness are not uncommon in many Aboriginal communities. Many Aboriginal youth charged with sex-related crimes suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol effects.
In order to deal with these cases effectively, experienced counselors, long-term programming and professional support will also be required, but are often not available in small communities. When communities attempt to deal with such cases using only traditional methods, they may encounter frustration and failure and this in turn will undermine the credibility of their program. Circle sentencing aims to keep offenders in their communities and as a result fewer jails will be needed. Government may be tempted to use these savings for some other unrelated purpose. Whether one is dealing with family group conferencing, circle sentencing or other community based restorative justice processes it is important that sufficient resources are made available to enable the offender to rehabilitate successfully in the community.
The Victim Circle sentencing and other restorative justice alternatives that are designed to keep offenders in the community create concerns about victim safety in small isolated communities, where victims have no anonymity and are particularly vulnerable Crnkovich The absence of counseling or treatment programs in the community exacerbates these concerns. The circle must be constituted so as to be able to address concerns about victim safety if the offender remains in the community. That concern will be heightened where the offence involves personal violence and even more so if it is domestic violence.
Where that concern cannot be alleviated, the judge may have no choice but to remove the offender from the community, as victim and public safety must remain the highest priority. This risk will be further reduced if community members are willing to participate in supervising the young person. Deciding which cases are eligible for circle sentencing can also create concerns. While the community must necessarily have considerable input, the decision should not be perceived as biased by favoritism or the exercise of power by a dominant family group LaPrairie Such perceptions can be alleviated if the judge makes the decision, after hearing from community representatives and counsel.
By establishing criteria for eligibility, communities can minimize disputes that will inevitably result if eligibility is decided on an ad hoc basis. Attendance at the circle may also be problematic. The community may wish to keep the proceedings private and exclude the media, contrary to the requirement that criminal proceedings must be open to all members of the public, subject only to very limited exceptions prescribed by law. The offender''s support group at circle sentencing hearings may be disproportionately large in comparison to the support available for the victim.