Restorative justice, forgiveness, and victims of crime
....I follow Howard Zehr (2005, p. 47) in thinking about forgiveness, when he argued that
Forgiveness is letting go of the power the offense and the offender have over a person. It means no longer letting that offense and offender dominate. Without this experience of forgiveness, without this closure, the wound festers, the violation takes over our consciousness, our lives. It, and the offender, are in control. Real forgiveness, then, is an act of empowerment and healing. It allows one to move from victim to survivor.
Restorative justice in victim services
In this six minute YouTube video, Wendy Cohen describes her decision to meet with the mother and brother of the young man that murdered her daughter in 2003. Cohen describes wanting the other mother to see who her son killed and how important she was to everyone.
In describing the meeting, Cohen recounts the scepticism of both sides as the meeting began. She goes on to describe the asking of questions and sharing of tears.
In describing restorative justice and its impact in her life, Cohen says the system needs to change to allow the process at all levels of offending.
Jodi Cadman finds peace after forgiving man who murdered her brother
From the article by Cheryl Chan in The Province:
Jodi Cadman still recalls hanging up the phone in shock.
She had just been told that the man who stabbed her 16-year-old brother to death almost two decades previously wanted to get in touch.
"You literally get a phone call out of the blue saying, 'Would you like to receive a letter from the person who murdered your family member?'" Jodi says. "I was pretty shocked."
Prisons, rehabilitation and justice
by Lynette Parker
Recently, I read an article about the struggles faced by the state of Florida after the US Supreme Court banned sentences of life without parole for juveniles who do not kill anyone. In the discussion over the need to revisit cases and re-sentence the offenders, one retired judge was quoted:
“There are no resources in prisons for rehabilitation,'' the former judge said. ``You give him 30 years, and he'll get out when he's 45, what's he going to do? Re-offend. Some people, regardless of their age, need to be put away forever.”
Michael Vick, Bill Simmons, forgiveness and restorative justice
Bill Simmons (aka The Sports Guy) wrote a recent [espn.com] column about Michael Vick and his comeback.
....Simmons writes that Vick emerged as the “feel good story” of the NFL. But his wife disagrees. The Sports Gal cannot forgive Vick. The Sports Gal says that if you love dogs, you cannot possibly forgive Vick. Sport Guy retorts that Vick did everything humanly possibly to pay for his crimes, apologize and rehabilitate his life. He lost EVERYTHING. He said he was genuinely sorry. He is fixing what he broke. Vick is a real Restorative Justice story. And Bill Simmons forgives him. Mrs. Simmons loves dogs too much to forgive Vick.
The article is a great read and I recommend reading it.
Response by Dr Martin Wright to European Commission consultation document: Taking action on rights, support and protection of victims of crime and violence
The key to this reply is in the last answer: that in principle restorative justice practices should be available to all victims, subject only to the safeguards mentioned in the reply to Question 17. Restorative processes are in the interests not only of victims, but also of offenders and the community.
Victim-offender dialogue is valuable as an end in itself as well as a means to an end. For many victims, action to make the offender less likely to re-offend is at least as high on their list of priorities as monetary compensation or reparation through work. When the victim and offender agree on one of these methods of reparation, it is incumbent on the community to provide the resources to enable offenders to carry them out.
Victim shows compassion for bat-wielding assailant in Coupeville attack
From the article by Jessie Stensland in The Seattle Post Intelligencer:
One of the most serious assault cases in Coupeville in recent memory culminated in what a judge described as “a very unusual and heartwarming situation.”
Judge Alan Hancock lauded the victim, the defendant, the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney for taking part in a rare meeting that occurred prior to last Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.
“It’s an almost unprecedented situation for the court to hear about such a meeting,” Hancock said. “This is restorative justice, folks.”
Ryan Marti, a 17-year-old Coupeville boy, could have faced a decade in adult prison if either the prosecutor or victim had insisted that he go to trial in adult criminal court on a charge of first-degree assault.
Instead, a plea bargain moved the case in juvenile court, where Marti pleaded guilty to assault in the second degree. He will serve about two years in a juvenile detention facility.
Victim Support: The SORI Programme and Restorative Justice
From the article by Own Sharp on info 4 security:
The arrival of the coalition Government in Westminster has prompted some fierce debate about the future of the criminal justice system and the rehabilitation of offenders.
There has been talk about a ‘rehabilitation revolution’ to cut reoffending, while the role of short sentences has been questioned as part of a sentencing review which will report next month.
As part of this debate, ministers have expressed an interest in restorative justice which we at Victim Support believe could benefit victims, cut reconvictions and, as a result, save the taxpayer money.
It’s a concept that has been put into practice in Wales and other parts of the UK, and gives victims the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime, to derive answers to their questions and to receive an apology.
In addition, it helps many victims get on with their lives while giving offenders an understanding of the real impact of what they have done, as well as a chance to do something to repair the harm.
Parallel Justice for Victims of Crime
by Eric Assur
Not too many years ago Restorative Justice (RJ) was introduced, or artfully expounded on, by Howard Zehr. Now we have what appears to be a similarly unique view of the victim of crime topic through new and different lenses. The author, a seasoned and well credentialed victim advocate, and the National Center for Victims of Crime now offer an enlightening commentary and daunting challenge regarding the state of victim services. The book recommends a new way to do business, a paradigm shift to what is now labeled, Parallel Justice (PJ).
Blackburn father wants to meet his son's killer
The father of a man who died from a single punch in Blackburn town centre wants to meet his son’s killer.
William Upton, 17, is currently serving half of a three-and-a-half year custodial sentence after he was convicted of the manslaughter of 24-year-old Adam Rogers, earlier this year.
Now Adam’s dignified dad Dave Rogers has expressed a wish to speak face-to-face with the Rishton teenager as part of a ‘restorative justice’ initiative.