. ‘We look deeper’: the Native court settling cases outside the justice system « JO LEE MAGAZINE

The Guardian – Robert Jones was on edge, a Native American teen in a reservation border town courtroom. He faced felony assault charges in Rapid City, South Dakota, home to a criminal justice system stubbornly plagued by racial disparities.

“When you’re in the western courts, you feel like you are alone, that you don’t have anyone with you,” said Jones.

But Jones, 19, was lucky. His file landed with Pennington county prosecutors as they were cementing a groundbreaking partnership with a group of Lakota elders to divert some cases into the new Oyate court, or people’s court, which employs a process based on Native culture and aboriginal peacemaking principles that stress healing over punishment.

Learn more about such initiatives at The Guardian.

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