Metal Detectors and Restorative Justice? That's Not a Thing, Mike Hein.

After receiving our report detailing why the use of metal detectors in a restorative justice center is inappropriate and contrary to the very concept of restorative justice for youth, Rise Up Kingston met with Executive Mike Hein to discuss options moving forward. In that meeting, Executive Hein reassured us that he has not yet made a final decision concerning this, and that he was open to foregoing them-if only he could obtain examples of other restorative justice centers that successfully operate without them. 

Rise Up Kingston is eager to show that this is indeed a successful model for Restorative Justice, and a preliminary Google search revealed that the State of Vermont has twenty comprehensive centers like the one planned for Ulster County. We contacted one in Bennington County, VT to inquire about the use of metal detectors. Not only does the Bennington County Center not use them, the representative there told us that none of the centers in Vermont use them. Restorative Justice has successfully been in use in Vermont for 20 years. 

It's not just Vermont, though. We contacted the Restorative Response Center in Baltimore, MD and they "would never". A clear pattern was quickly revealed and maintained no matter where we called. We spoke with a representative at the Restorative Justice Mediation Program in San Diego, CA and they don't use them either. They gave us the names of several other centers in California, and none of the restorative justice centers contacted use metal detectors in their facilities.  We even contacted the Centinela Youth Services Center in South Central Los Angeles. Using metal detectors in restorative justice centers just doesn't happen.

The reason is simple; as we showed previously-metal detectors and restorative justice are mutually exclusive! In addition to being ideologically opposed concepts, the fact is that Ulster County is NOT San Diego, LA, or Baltimore. Ulster County is a rural-to-suburban county. While we indeed have our share of crime, we are in no way equivalent to these areas in the frequency or intensity of crime that occurs.  If their centers can succeed without using metal detectors, so can ours! 

Please contact County Executive Mike Hein at exec@co.ulster.ny.us or 845-340-3800 to encourage him to be a leader on real restorative justice, and ask him not to compromise the principles of restorative justice by criminalizing our children in an environment aimed at their empowerment. 

Cassandra Burke