If you were part of Cole’s Justice Circle, what kinds of information would affect your decision-making? What things have you learned about Cole and his life that provide you with some important clues to understanding him? How might this context affect your decision regarding the consequences Cole should face for his actions?
From learning about the YCJ and Restorative Justice, these are the main variables that would affect my decision making in deciding Cole's fate from Circle Justice.
1. Attitude of offender.
Cole is a stubborn and hot-headed young offender throughout the first half of the book. He also does not take responsibility for his actions honestly, which makes him seem unremorseful and a potential danger to others around him as well.
2. Seriousness of the crime.
Cole's crime was beating Peter Driscal, an innocent bystander. Peter ended up with severe chronic injuries like brain damage and motor disfunction throughout his body.
3. Look at the circumstances surrounding the crime/incident.
Peter did what he thought was right (Cole cheated on the test) and Cole thought it necessary to assert his dominance in a violent and disgusting demeanour. We also have to take into consideration Cole's home life. Because he was regularly beaten by his father and neglected by his alcoholic mother his entire life, he is emotionally unstable. Cole was also detained because he was found to still be a danger to the community and his unlikeliness at showing up in court (in addition to being a repeat offender).
4. What consequences will ensure meaningful long-term success?
To answer this, we have to take all the previous points under consideration. Cole was a difficult case due to the fact that he a) did not take responsibility for his actions, b) he refused to cooperate willingly and c) people weren't really offering him any options that he was interested/passionate about. If Cole were to divulge more personal information about his likes/dislikes and open up to others, he and the people of the Justice Circle and people working in restorative justice could work together to find a suitable option that Cole is both passionate about and suitable for Cole's offence. His home life shows emotional neglect and abuse, which is an obvious sign that he needs support. This is something Circle Justice could see and take into consideration for consequences such as a mentor or counselling. However, since the crime is relatively severe and Cole is a repeat offender in the YCJA he likely could have been taken to court. Throughout, it is important to remember the main goal is to rehabilitate and reintegrate Cole into the community!