Can you work for the victim and the offender?
by Lisa Rea
I had two things happen to me recently that gave me pause. It is the story of two people. One is the story of a crime victim. The other is a story of an ex-offender.
The crime victim lost her husband to murder years ago in California. I've known this woman largely via email for many years as we both have worked for justice reform. This victim worked for an organization in California that often took positions regarding prison and sentencing policies than have not been positions I could support as an advocate of restorative justice. But regardless, she and I have been "friends". In time, I believe she saw me as a supporter of crime victims, something that I have worked hard to be. She was a good person and a nice human being.
An IRA bomber and a victim's daughter
On Tuesday, former Irish Republican Army (IRA) activist Pat Magee, who was convicted of the Brighton bombings in 1984, met Jo Berry, daughter of Sir Anthony Berry, one of the five victims killed in the blast.
Though Magee had been given eight life sentences, he was freed in 1999 under the negotiated terms of the Good Friday Agreement of 1999. Magee's conviction was based on his planning of the bomb and for attempting to kill British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who was attending a conference at the Grand Hotel in Brighton (above), where the bomb was planted.