Denver woman feels the power of restorative justice after son murdered
Aug 03, 2012
....When legislation last year cleared the way for a pilot program in restorative justice with the Colorado Department of Corrections, Evans — who had testified on behalf of the measure — embraced the opportunity to go first. She and her older son Calvin Hurd, who was 6 when gunshots peppered the car where he sat sleeping with his brother, began more than six months of preparation for a direct dialogue with Johnson.
Part of that involved revisiting the crime. Evans had driven with her two children to a northeast Denver duplex to pick up her grandniece because there had been a drive-by there the previous night. She left her sons in the car.
While Evans was inside, three teens drove by and sprayed more than a dozen shots at the house and car. One struck Casson in the head. It was later determined that Johnson fired the fatal shot.
Beyond a sheer willingness to participate in restorative justice, the offender has to meet a three-part test for acceptance based on demonstrating accountability, genuine remorse and willingness to repair harm. Johnson met all the criteria, though on the last count the only reparations he could offer were honest answers to a mother's unanswered questions.
....Whatever impact the meeting has had on Johnson, the public won't know for a while, if ever. The DOC has declined requests to interview him pending conclusion of the process, which includes debriefing of all parties and assessment of the outcome — something that may take until the end of the month.
From initiation to completion, every aspect of the sequence remains victim-driven.
"This is not a short process," said DOC spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti. "We don't want this to be a venue for the offenders. This is about the victim, for the victim."