- Showing 5 posts filed under: Practice [–], Victim [–] published between Nov 01, 2009 and Nov 30, 2009 [Show all]
Law school student asks: would victims really want restorative justice?
by Lisa Rea
I recently gave a speech at UC Davis Law School. Before the class the professor shared a comment made to him by one of the students in his class. A number of students had already explored restorative justice, perhaps having heard of it previously since the law school had hosted a number of events on the subject including bringing in guest speakers like me to speak in a classroom setting.
The student said this: "Restorative justice might be a good concept for the person who committed the crime since they may be able to understand the pain they caused that they might not otherwise be unaware of. However, for victims I think this is a waste of time. It probably just stirs up emotions unnecessarily and the session may turn into a shouting and crying match. But it still doesn’t change the victims’ pain or the harm that was caused."
Putting victims at the heart of justice
Promises to put victims at the heart of the justice system sound good but can have a hollow ring. Too often people find themselves lost in a maze of unfamiliar, complex and bureaucratic criminal justice process and procedures. Only to emerge feeling that their account of being harmed has not really been heard or, at least, not properly understood. So a youth justice system which satisfies 90% of crime victims and substantially reduces reoffending rates is well worth looking into.
Muhammad and the 'closure' myth
....In the past decade, 24 U.S. prisons have begun victim-offender dialogue programs. These programs give victims' survivors opportunities to meet with, talk to and ask questions of the offenders, often questions only the offender can answer. According to John Wilson, director of Just Alternatives, a group that trains prison personnel in the dialogue program, this victim-led initiative has brought a sense of power and renewal to the lives of survivors. "Survivors can go through years of therapy, but until they have the opportunity to talk with their offenders, their healing often feels unfinished," he said.
Restorative justice and victim services collaboration
....I had a number of energizing engagements coordinated by AUT’s Restorative Justice Centre. The last engagement was a keynote for the national Victim Support Conference, held in Wellington. I had been asked to speak about victims’ justice needs, how restorative justice seeks to address them, and how the restorative justice and victim support communities could connect better with one another. I was encouraged by the group’ enthusiasm for engaging with restorative justice. In fact, in at least one area in the South Island, such collaboration has already begun between youth justice and victim support.The question in New Zealand now is how to move this forward in both the youth justice and adult justice spheres.
Lisa Rea interviews Stephen Watt
By Lisa Rea:
The following interview is with Stephen Watt, a former Wyoming state trooper and two term state legislator who was shot multiple times by a fleeing bank robber. Lisa Rea's interview focuses on how the impact of a severely violent crime continues 20 years later. Mr. Watt has met with the offender, forgiven him and a friendly relationship has grown up between them. Nevertheless, he continues to suffer. Can restorative justice open doors for further healing in a victim of violent crime who is suffering continuing, severe trauma?