Dialogues can offer healing for crime victims
May 23, 2011
Recovering from a crime can be a deeply personal process for victims, but Maryland's corrections system offers victims who are interested a chance to interact with their attackers.
The state is able to arrange dialogues between victims and the person incarcerated for their crime.
Maryland's victim-offender dialogue program began five or six years ago, and currently does anywhere from three to six dialogues per year, said Debbi Neighoff, victim services director for the state's division of correction.
The program was started because some victims ask if they can talk to their offender, often because of unanswered questions they have about the crime, she said.
Many are at the point where they want to try to forgive the offender, Neighoff said. The victim may ask for a session to be set up, or Neighoff may suggest it based on conversations they've had.
Both parties have to agree to the dialogue, but only victims can request one.