Criminals could cut sentences by saying ‘sorry’
Tens of thousands of offenders may be able to reduce their sentences by making personal apologies to their victims, under plans for a “rehabilitation revolution” in the criminal justice system.
Crispin Blunt, the prisons minister, is considering the move as part of a drive to offer victims the chance to come face-to-face with the person who committed the crime against them. A report released today by two charities, Victim Support and the Restorative Justice Consortium, suggests the policy could save £185m in two years by cutting reoffending.
Crime victims treated like the 'poor relation'
The first commissioner for victims of crime in England and Wales says the criminal justice system treats them as a poor relation and an afterthought.
Too often victims found themselves a "sideshow" as police, prisons, lawyers and the courts focused on the offender, Louise Casey said.
She said too much time was spent trying to help all crime victims, rather than focusing on those in genuine need.
Help for the victims of crime -- and the offenders
From the 10 July article in The Vancouver Sun by Peter McKnight:
In 2006, the newly elected Conservative government announced, with much pomp and ceremony, the appointment of the first federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime. Four years later, Steve Sullivan's role came to an unceremonious end.
Upon leaving office earlier this year, Sullivan condemned the Conservatives for failing to address victims' needs. "The tough-on-crime agenda will not meet the needs of victims of crime," he told Canwest News Service, while emphasizing that imposing stiffer sentences on offenders doesn't amount to serving victims.
Instead, Sullivan argued that victims desire greater participation in the justice system: "If they are engaged in the process, if they understand why decisions are made and are given a voice, they are more satisfied with the result, regardless of the sentence given."
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.
Forgiving my daughter's killer
One of the two 15-year-old boys who killed my 26-year-old daughter Cathy was released from prison last month after serving 23 years of a 54-year sentence. Gary Brown was released from prison one week before the Supreme Court decided in Graham v. Florida to end the practice of sentencing juveniles to life without parole for crimes other than murder.
Healing in a hard place
How do people heal from violent crime? How do they mend after a rape or assault, or after losing a loved one to murder? How do they get over the grief, anger and gnawing sense that no matter what happens, justice will never be served?
For Patricia Dahlgren, whose mother, June Duncan, was abducted and strangled in December 1995, the answer came from an unusual source: the man who killed her mother.
Helping victims of clergy sexual abuse: Suggestions for Pope Benedict XVI:
Based on Road to Recovery’s on-the-ground experience helping the abused cope with the effects of their abuse, we offer to Pope Benedict and his colleagues in the hierarchy the following suggested action steps that will help restore clergy abuse victims to fullness of life (these steps do not preclude the necessary and/or statutory reporting of all crimes to local and/or national law enforcement):
At this prison graduation, the focus is on knowing the effects of their crimes
....During this season of high school and college graduations, 16 men received a very different kind of diploma Monday at Columbia Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison.
Over three months, the inmates voluntarily completed a 30-session course on restorative justice, a curriculum meant to help them understand how much they'd harmed their victims, the community and themselves. For some of them, Monday's graduation ceremony was the first time they'd done anything worthy of even minimal praise.
"I've been in all sorts of programs and always been kicked out," said Darren Morris, 33, whose peers voted him class speaker.
Desmond Tutu meets victims and perpetrators of violence
From the moment I first met Archbishop Desmond Tutu back in 2003, it was always my intention to one day ask him to give a lecture in London on behalf of The Forgiveness Project, an organization which he supports that explores forgiveness and reconciliation through the personal storis of real people.
Knowing, however, that everyone wants a small piece of one of the world's most admired humanitarians, I did not imagine for a minute that I would succeed. But I had underestimated the man who gives so much to so many, and my request was in fact met with an enthusiastic 'yes!' via the Archbishop's personal BlackBerry.
Church arsonist doubts God will forgive him
A man who torched two Wetaskiwin churches in what a judge described as a "totally senseless wanton act of destruction" was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison.
But he was offered hope by one of the ministers whose church was destroyed.
"We have not been abandoned and we don't want you, Peter Terence Jones, to feel abandoned," Wetaskiwin First United Church minister Ruth Lumax told the 24-year-old arsonist in her victim impact statement, which was read in court.