Is ‘restorative justice’ working?

Dane County courts practice it, too!

It’s heart-breaking, it really is. Two Madison teenagers took different paths. Anthony Chung was a National Merit Scholar at Memorial high school, student representative to the Board of Education, about to graduate from elite Georgetown University. With him in the car the night of 09-12-20 on Mineral Point Road was the former classmate he planned to marry.

Maurice Chandler  Anthony Chung

   Maurice Chandler      Anthony Chung

Careening at 90 mph on that city street was another Madison high school product. Maurice M. Chandler, then 18. At that young age, he already had seven open felony and misdemeanor cases and had jumped bail seven times. That night Chandler was high on marijuana in a vehicle likely stolen; he was armed with a handgun.

Chandler was out on $100 bail for an armed robbery, ordered by the court to remain at home — not rocketing through a city street at night when he ran a red light and smashed into Chung’s car as it turned left onto Grand Canyon Drive, killing the young man and critically injuring Chung’s girl friend, Rory Demick — herself an honors student.

“The moment that I learned of his death shattered my heart into a million pieces. In that second, as I lay in the ICU with multiple broken bones, my heart hurt more than the rest of my body,” she told the court, as reported by the Wisconsin State Journal.

Just one of the stories of kids gone bad in the Naked City. More and more stories. Which is why David Blaska, your write-in candidate for Seat #4 on the Madison school board, asks the question no one else is asking:

Is restorative justice working?

The district’s own website admits it has been experimenting on its kids. “Six years ago [now seven] we made a major shift … We took a step into uncharted territory. .. A zero policy toward discipline … was having a disproportionate and negative effect on students of color. Madison schools’ solution: “Restorative Justice.” The linked document gives a peek into the concept. It acknowledges that:

Restorative Justice in Education is aligned with beliefs and values articulated in the Strategic Framework: interconnectedness, belonging, racial and social justice.

The latter two “beliefs and values” are code for critical race theory. In any event, we’re going to have to read the book it usesBuilding a Better Man. The “Masculinity Developmental Hierarchy Model” is intriguing. But IS IT WORKING? We posed these questions to MMSD:

  1. What is restorative justice?
  2. What does it look like? How long does it take?
  3. Where is it conducted? Who performs it?
  4. What criteria determine who qualifies and who (instead) is referred to the legal system?
  5. How many students are currently undergoing restorative justice?
  6. How many students have completed restorative justice?
  7. What are the metrics that determine restorative justice has succeeded?
  8. How many restorative justice “graduates” been a) re-admitted to that program or b) referred to the criminal justice system?

In other words, how many restorative justice participants have re-offended?

We submitted these interrogatories 02-23-22 — nine days ago. The education beat reporter at the WI State Journal, Elizabeth Beyer, wished us good luck getting answers in this lifetime.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: “The cult of victimhood has claimed two lives” and traumatized a third, that of young Ms. Demick — considering that Chandler, now 22, will spend up to 10 more years in prison after he finishes his armed robberty sentence this September. One final question:

Is Maurice Chandler a product of restorative justice? 


About David Blaska

Madison WI
This entry was posted in Crime, Critical Race Theory / Identity politics, Madison schools, Race, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Is ‘restorative justice’ working?

  1. Normwegian says:

    You’ll get the answers to your interrogatories right after Putin surrenders.


  2. One eye says:

    It won’t be Blaska that fixes the MMSD, it will be Kaleem Caire showing real results at his school.

    No thanks to the school board and teacher’s union.

    MMSD will “pivot” to support Caire only after he is successful. Meanwhile several generations of “students of color” have been destroyed by Madison’s coddling culture.


  3. Bob says:

    I think we need some more studies paid for by the taxpayer. I can’t tell you how many studies have been done by MMSD to get minority graduation rates up since I graduated James Madison Memorial HS in the middle 1970’s. Since then the minority graduation rates keep going down even with the standards being lowered.
    I’m glad to live in the land of studies. It’s hard to keep up with all of them from Dane County, City of Madison and MMSD and nothing really changes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rollie says:

    “how many restorative justice participants have re-offended?”

    Good question that should be asked of our “corrections” system overall. How many people who’ve served prison time reoffend? Why isn’t that data used to assess the job performance of prison wardens and judges?

    I don’t care what corrective technique we use (within the bounds of the constitution and general decency) so long as it works better than whatever we do now. I’m not aware of convincing evidence that locking people up very well corrects their behavior or prevents the behaviors in the first place.

    So much focus on the police, when it’s the courts and the prisons that are the main problem. I see the prison system as ideally an extension of our education system. It’s a re-education camp. The general point of public education is to get people to behave in desired ways, and we compel kids by law to be subjected to this conditioning. If they can’t meet defined standards, we keep them back a grade and make them do it again until they get it (obviously in practice this isn’t always occurring but you get the point).

    Yet in prison, we just set a clock and let them out when the clock expires. There’s no standard that they need to demonstrate mastery of, there’s no requirement that mental growth occur, there’s no correcting going on at all. Imagine if we did that in school – no tests, no teaching, no grading, just be there 12 years and you’re out (are we going that way now?). Prison is supposed to change the person but we don’t compel it. If they happen to decide to change than they do, and if they don’t they don’t.

    Maybe if our education system can be more like our prison system in some ways (demanding compliance), and our prison system more like our education system in some ways (demanding growth and learning), and both seem as relatives of each other, we could get some improvement in both.

    I’m sure some of you are thinking “Clockwork Orange!”. I hope we won’t be quite that dystopian if we were to move down the path I suggest 🙂


  5. Rollie says:

    Another perspective: prison is not to correct but to punish. I’m open to discussing that argument. If under that premise though, we can’t be up in arms if people re-offend (in my view). Or we’d have to have a post-prison phase that reaccepts the punished back to society. Like disciplining kids: you have to punish so they have a consequence they really feel, but you also have to follow after time with some love so they don’t become callous and embittered and less and less effected by discipline.

    Any way we approach it, we have to be all-in. Doing any approach half way is no use at all. When you’re punishing, punish. When you’re teaching, teach. When you’re healing, love. But don’t mix all that together at the same time – everyone has to clearly know which phase they’re in and why. I don’t think our system does a good job of being clear in these respects.


  6. Rollie says:

    To turn to restorative justice. Specific and numbered questions were demanded of this corrective technique, yet only if this technique and no other. As if these questions are readily answered for ANY of our so called corrective of punitive approaches. I surmise there is a body of literature which builds the foundational philosophy for restorative justice. Tell us what is right and what is wrong with the philosophy, and if outcomes are to be questioned please continue to look at outcomes system wide and proposes solutions rather than complaints.


  7. Bill Cleary says:

    Rather than focus on the negative, I would like to think of the positive. Let us evaluate and promote people who have achieved great strides in life despite the circumstances that could have kept them down.

    Let them be an example to our students in all levels of school to show these students that dreaming the impossible can result in the possible.

    Like the black woman who joined the air force as an enlisted person but achieved her college degree while serving in the air force. She went on to flight school and learned how to fly an air force KC-46 Pegaus refueling airplane and eventually became the pilot in command of that airplane.

    She then retired from the airforce and became a pilot for a major airline and after several years in the right seat, became a pilot in command in the left seat of the airplane.

    She now is 52 and flies the commercial plane from Chicago to Honalolo, then back to Chicago, riding the jump seat back to Madison when the cabin is full.

    There are many positive examples of people of color out there who have achieved greatness in their fields of endeavors due to hard work and discipline that kept them on the right path to success no matter what their skin color or their sex is. I have worked with many of those people and have the highest amount of respect for all of them.

    I who am a retired facilities guy who never went to college salute those people who achieved such greatness in life no matter what their skin color is, no matter who they are.

    I thank God for such people every day as they make our modern-day life, possible.

    Fill the heads of our school children from kindergarten on up with the possibilities of who they aspire to be rather than what they reluctantly adopt to be.

    Bring successful people of all walks of life, of all colors, of all races to inspire our students to dream big, to show them that hard work and determination can pay off in a successful career in many fields of endeavors that do not include those who are crime-related.

    Liked by 1 person

    • georgessson says:

      Bill, you make some good positive points here. Likely results could be elusive, but certainly are hopeful. We need more hopeful….


  8. Mark Lemberger says:

    There is no such thing as restorative justice. There are no metrics for the impossible. The goal is to minimise punishment of AA criminals because racism.
    Congratulations Dane County. You have finally implemented a successful program.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rollie says:

      Why is there no such thing as restorative justice? What is the approach you think is best, why do you think it to be best? Is there evidence that the approach you prefer is indeed the best? For a blog that claims to be a “policy werks” there is little in depth discussion of policy. When I attempt to spark real discussion too often people have zero. So many people blame government for doing a bad job, but if our citizenry has a meager ability to rationally and factually discuss important policy how can we expect better from our elected officials? They are us. If this blog is just “grunt grunt liberals bad” so be it. That’s no way to run a society if you ask me.


      • mark lemberger says:

        Focus Rollie. Madison needs more discussion on “policy ” like it needs more studies and commissions. Blah blah blah woof woof woof. People are being killed and more to come. Soon.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Rollie says:

          For sure on the studies and commissions. I do want facts and data, and studies snd commissions are supposed to do that, but too often people are just looking for facts that support their opinions and ignoring facts that don’t. If we are going to use a study to actually make a decision based on fact, great. If it’s just to waste time and play partisan games no thanks. We already have mountains of studies, let’s use that data

          Liked by 1 person

        • Rollie says:

          For instance, “ Challenge of Crime in a Free Society” was a 1967 report from a presidential commission. If we had actually used that report’s findings to guide policy we wouldn’t be in this situation now.


  9. David Blaska says:

    O.K., Rollie. Tell the class how the 1967 Nicholas Katzenbach study would have steered Maurice Chandler into becoming a National Merit Scholar AND a safe driving instructor. Did we not spend enough billions of dollars on the Great Society? Didn’t shut down the prisons 55 years ago? Not enough “slum clearance”? Urban renewal? Free lunch? Subsidized housing? If we had renamed Madison Memorial high school when it was built instead of last year? The young women of East high school wanted TOUGHER sanctions on accused rapists — even though the offense occurred off campus.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Rollie says:

    It’s been a bit since I’ve read it and I don’t have my annotated copy handy, but off the top of my head:
    -making the criminal justice system use and share common data through the entire system so we could judge performance of each component of the criminal justice system.
    -actually addressing poverty. You refer to the $ spent on the great society, but I don’t believe that approach even tried to actually solve the problem because I don’t believe those that have power ever wanted that problem solved. Just wanted to act like they were doing something to play politics. Spend money but don’t assess results. The proof is in the results – as you’ve pointed out, it didn’t work.
    -actually caring for mental health. The deinstitutionalization movement failed and nobody cared. “We’ll give states block grants and they’ll figure it out”, but it was never figured out because guess what, it’s expensive, more expensive than the $ provided. Yeah, blind spending doesn’t solve problems, but it does take money to do things that’s just a fact. And without enough money you don’t do the things. Which is fine I guess, but then we have no right to complain if that’s the choice that was made.

    But now we’re talking. If this is interesting I’d be happy to dig up my copy of the report and talk details. We don’t need new studies – the research already exists.


  11. Rollie says:

    To the specific address of M. Chandler:
    Obviously you can’t draw a straight line from policy to every person’s individual actions. We are free people who make free choices and even in the best societies you will have people who do bad things. It’s a trick to talk policy, which can be assessed statistically using populations, but put forward individual examples as arguments.


  12. Rollie says:

    Funny thing is I probably agree with you all on this stuff but I’m pushing for better detail and things that can be actually done. I propose we punish when people break rules, then teach and assess so we are sure they know the correct way, then support and love so they do not become immune to discipline. If agreed on the theory I laid out, the next step is developing the implementation. What does each step look like?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mordecai The Red says:

      The first step in reforming restorative justice (and other social justice programs of questionable value) is to establish a system of accountability around it. To do that, we need to establish metrics by which to measure its effectiveness, collect data around these metrics, make it available for all to see, and let the chips fall where they may. Set benchmarks for success of these programs, enforce legally binding reform measures if they come up short, and cancel them outright if they show a pattern of failure. The details and legal language around all these are many and complex, but are sorely needed.

      If The Squire can’t get answers to the very reasonable questions he posed, then we have a serious accountability problem with our criminal justice officials. If it is reasonable to hold those who catch criminals to the level of scrutiny they’ve recently been subjected to, then it is surely fair to subject those who prosecute, sentence, and reform criminals to the same. More people need to start demanding answers to these same questions, but that’s proving difficult in an environment where woke rage and cancel culture rule the day.

      Personally, I’m not against giving people from troubled backgrounds who make a single stupid mistake a second chance. But restorative justice should not be made available to those that have established patterns of criminality or who commit some of the more egregious felonies. Maurice Chandler certainly does not deserve it here.

      The lack of parental or other authority figures in these offenders’ lives is a huge reason for why we’re seeing incidents like this. The solution to that problem is massively complex and few legislators will go near it, although The Squire has proposed some plays to begin addressing it here.


  13. georgessson says:

    That story and juxtaposition RE: Maurice & Anthony, makes me ill every time I review it. And the Squire is correct, the connection to the MMSD policy is further irony. Sad, SAD irony. The school board, many teachers, and some city council members, ALL made the current school policies a dog’s breakfast.

    What make me queasier yet is that this scenario is poised to continue ad infinitum until/unless realistic policies are established.

    Madison has plenty o’ uneducated irresponsible kids graduating each year. Sadly, the Anthony Chung’s are few and far between.


    • Rollie says:

      You say this like prior policy was resulting in 100% perfection. Are our social problems the fault of the schools, and if so why? No vague laments. If we want to change things we need to be specific and measurable, like any business. If it means getting more strict in school, say so. And describe in which way. What discipline is needed, how should it get handed out? What are you proposing for balancing the rights of the parents with the wishes of the society? People can’t just sit around and say “it’s the liberals fault” without providing facts and substance and solutions.


      • georgessson says:

        Rollie, I do NOT “say this like prior policy was 100%”. How dare you put your words in my mouth. It is cheesey, stupid and it is creepy. Please do not do that.

        I DID say: “That story and juxtaposition RE: Maurice & Anthony, makes me ill every time I review it.” I meant that.

        Please stop cheapin’ out by askin’ me or others questions. Make a statement. But don’t wast other people’s time.


        • Rollie says:

          You also said “The school board, many teachers, and some city council members, ALL made the current school policies a dog’s breakfast.”

          This statement pointed to current policy as being the problem. I’m arguing that without referencing any data on previous policy to compare current policy to, it doesn’t make logical sense to blame the current policy. Individual events occurred under both current and previous policy.

          “Cheaping out”? Come on, really?


        • georgessson says:

          Rollie, Please review your posts here lately. I beg you sincerely to do that for me, and for the sake of the other participants here.

          You do a good job o’ roundin’ up circular arguments, but that’s never been legitimate debating… And while your vocabulary is adequate, you’ve a tendency towards repetition that buries most/all of your comments in a mud-n-gravel grave.

          BTW: Answerin’ questions w/ more question’s is the epitome of “cheaping out”. Sorry, but that’s truth.


  14. Madtownforsure says:

    Let’s ask the 65 year old woman in her car that was killed by a repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat page after page after page of guy an honor student. He was high with stolen car. Will be out soon to repeat.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Bill Cleary says:

    I would like to bring up the subject of one, Andrew M. Stoltz of Middleton. Andrew is a Caucasian male who is about 25 years of age and has a 2-page rap sheet on Wisconsin CCAP.

    This scumbags latest charges in 3/22 include: Repeated Sexual Assault of Same Child (At Least 3 Violations of 1st or 2nd Degree Sexual Assault)
    Attempt Child Sexual Exploitation – Produce, Perform, etc.
    Kidnapping/Carry w/o Consent
    Bail Jumping-Felony

    All of these are repeat offenses. All of them. The last time this garbage was in front of a judge in 11/21, he was accused of several counts of felony bail jumping as well as criminal damage to property and forced to post a $1,500 bond.

    So apparently low bond or signature bonds, all part of “restorative justice”, do not stop people from committing more crimes. Go figure!

    And, thanks to our local media there are no pictures of this P.O.S. so we the people don’t even know what this P.O.S. even looks like. You could walk right by this scumbag and not even know it is him.

    Why is that?

    Liked by 1 person

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