Independent Politics in America: 5 Trends

Here are my (2015) observations about the rise of independent politics in America. I see 5 trends: Continue reading

Solution Sets for Baltimore and Beyond

America is finally and quite visibly confronting a broken justice system and the disproportionate arrest, detention and incarceration of people of color. The trigger for this awakening has been the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement. Other tragedies could have provoked such outrage including private for-profit prisons with federally mandated quotas for immigration arrests or the abuse of locked-up prisoners including juveniles or the built-in bias of laws that imprison women who act to protect themselves or their children from domestic violence. Clearly, this is an opportunity for change – let’s be wise and effective about what we do as a nation. Continue reading

The Iran Deal and the Lessons of Peacebuilding

If we don't stand up for diplomacy, our children and grandchildren will be marching away to the drumbeats of war. Continue reading

Building Peace in Times of War

America has the military superiority to win wars, yet where is our superior vision for building peace? Eternal warfare on our shared planet is now within our grasp, blinding us to our collective knowledge about the activities of peacebuilding and the psychology of peacemaking. Building peace does not mean being stupid. Any parent who has sent their child off to school knows that bullies must be confronted not sweet-talked. The brutal beheadings, murders, rapes, and attempted genocide in the mid-east may call for a military response in the short term. The tragedy does not call for World War III. Continue reading

Sonoma County, California: Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is an approach to reducing crime and violence that brings together victims, offenders, family and community members to discuss the crime and its impact, then to formally agree on specific actions that would make amends and restore balance to families and the community. Continue reading

Multnomah County, Oregon: Community Justice

The population of Multnomah County, Oregon is slightly less than 750,000. When I met in the Portland offices of the Department of Community Justice on August 15, there were 16 juvenile offenders in detention. Continue reading

NYC Probation: Reinventing and Building Peace

The latest crime data show NYC homicides down for the 51st year in a row. Recidivism (re-arrests) and incarceration in New York City are also decreasing. One driving factor for these stunning improvements in public safety is that New York City Probation has transformed the way it delivers services. NYC Probation focuses security on those who pose the greatest risk to public safety and provides services to everyone else through local partnerships and Neighborhood Opportunity Networks (NeONs). Continue reading

25th Anniversary of Peacemaking: A Systems Approach to Conflict Management

The year 2013 was the 25th anniversary of my first book, Peacemaking: A Systems Approach to Conflict Management. Since publication, I have learned many things about this work. First, I learned peacebuilding does not pay well and I would have to find a real job. Then, inside the federal government, I realized that what I wrote about the technology, psychology and theory of peace-seeking dialogs is relevant in any setting in any location and at any time. Continue reading