Don’t Go into the New Year Stupid

Babara Nelson

January 2021

    I just used the title above to lure you into reading this article. It worked because here you are, reading this article. The real title is “May Your New Year Overflow with Newness.” Not quite as captivating. Anyway . . .
    I am a huge proponent of the idea that it is never too late to change. I staunchly believe that NOW is always the best time to do whatever it is you were created to do. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing the thing that you’re currently doing. It doesn’t matter how many setbacks you’ve had in the past. And it most definitely doesn’t matter what other people think or what they have to say. It just doesn’t matter. For that reason, I love love love the start of a new year or a new week or a new day—whenever it is that you decide to do something new! Read more

The Cost of Restorative Justice

Barbara Nelson



   True story. A few years back my dishwasher started overflowing whenever I used it. Shortly after I’d start a load of pots and pans, there would be water all over my kitchen floor! Now, normally, my husband, Rick, would handle an issue like this, but I ended up having to deal with the situation myself because Rick was away on a TDY, deployment or something. I don’t quite remember where he was. But what I do remember is that when I called the dishwasher repairman, he told me it would cost $60 just for him to pull his truck into our driveway! That didn’t even count the costs of whatever repairs he’d ultimately have to make. Fine. After agreeing to his extortion—I mean—service charge, the repairman appeared at my front door. Read more

Turning a Big Ship

Barbara Nelson



    “It takes a long time to turn big ships.” That’s what a colleague told me as we talked about a legal system that often staunchly adheres to old ways of doing and being and thinking in spite of concrete evidence that contradicts antiquated ideology. It takes a long time to turn big ships.
    My family is a military family. We spent three decades PCSing to different duty stations
around the world. Moving from one military town to another was our norm. That’s just what we did. And for over thirty years, we were surrounded by others who did the same. And because people are rarely from the place they’re stationed, it also became the norm for me to ask everyone I met, “Where are you from?”
    I’ve learned that where a person is from often tells you a boatload about him or her. Of
course, you want to take the time to know people and not just rely on broad generalizations, but finding out where a person is from, definitely gives you a head start. Read more

Misconceptions About Restorative Justice

Barbara Nelson



    A lot of people hear the term restorative justice and what immediately comes to mind is a philosophy that advocates coddling offenders and not holding them fully accountable for their actions. Nothing could be further from the truth.
    Restorative justice distinguishes itself from a purely punitive system of justice in that it
promotes being smart on crime rather than just tough on crime. 
    If the past fifty years of the U.S. criminal justice system have taught us nothing else, it’s
taught us that laws and policies that strictly focus on harshly punishing offenders with little to no thought to rehabilitating them don’t work. They don’t make our communities safer. Neither do they make sense economically. Read more