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Stories of Restorative Justice

Read stories and case studies about restorative processes.

'We shook hands... I got upset and started crying. Then Glenn broke down'
from the article on No Offence!: When a passing cyclist intervened as a drunk racially abused two Asian women in Nottingham city centre, it changed both men's lives. Shad Ali, punched to the ground and kicked in the face, ended up in an operating theatre. His assailant Glenn Jackson, eventually snared by CCTV footage, ended up in prison. Almost seven years on they met at HMP Featherstone, Wolverhampton, for the first time. They embraced and wept before sitting down to share their feelings about the incident and its aftermath.
Learning respect for a victim’s pain – a powerful speech to prisoners and criminal justice officials
from the article on Sycamore Voices: When I first began the program I was recovering from a broken right wrist, it was a bad break and extremely painful. In greeting the residents I had to offer my right wrist – these guys have strong handshakes and a couple of times I actually winced in pain. In order for me to be acquainted with the participants I had to offer something of myself, which hurt. In turn the guys learnt to not shake my hand hard and they developed a respect for my pain. Eight weeks on I can offer my hand without the fear of pain, as there has been a healing process.
Restorative justice offers a way for peace to come from tragedy
from the article in the TImes Colonist: One family sat across from the Greater Victoria woman whose dangerous driving caused the death of their brother, John Caspell. Another woman, Shannon Moroney, sat on the other side of the glass from her newlywed husband, in jail for brutally raping two women in their Peterborough home.
Crime survivor’s letter to an unknown perpetrator
In viewing crime as causing harm, restorative justice seeks to address that harm by allowing all those affected a voice in responding to crime. This is true even for those crimes in which a responsible person has not been found. The Sycamore Tree Project® provides an opportunity for prisoners and indirect victims to meet and explore the impact of crime. Each participant has the opportunity to tell his or her story. The following letter was written during a recent Sycamore Tree Project® and published in the newsletter of the Prison Fellowship Australia chapter in Queensland.
Face-to-face with crime
from the article on The Project: Suzanne Davey and her husband Nick were in the middle of a European holiday when they got the news that their Canberra home had been burgled, and their car stolen and trashed. “It had just been smashed - every window, every panel… they ripped the steering wheel off,” recalls Suzanne. “If someone didn’t have a car I can understand them stealing my car, but to just trash a perfectly new car? That’s what I found very hard to understand.” It’s a common feeling for victims of crime, an inability to understand why this injustice has been dealt out to them. But in this instance, Suzanne and Davey got the opportunity to get the story straight from one of the perpetrators, a teenage boy, who we’ll call “Liam”.
Discipline with dignity: Oakland classrooms try healing instead of punishment
from the article by Fania Davis: Tommy, an agitated 14-year-old high school student in Oakland, Calif., was in the hallway cursing out his teacher at the top of his lungs. A few minutes earlier, in the classroom, he’d called her a “b___” after she twice told him to lift his head from the desk and sit up straight. Eric Butler, the school coordinator for Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY—the author is executive director of the organization) heard the ruckus and rushed to the scene. The principal also heard it and appeared. Though Butler tried to engage him in conversation, Tommy was in a rage and heard nothing. He even took a swing at Butler that missed. Grabbing the walkie-talkie to call security, the principal angrily told Tommy he would be suspended.
Gunman at my door: How one sentence saved my life
from the article by Prison Fellowship England & Wales: Robert*, a Prison Fellowship volunteer on our Sycamore Tree programme, shares with us how he was determined to turn a few moments of terror at gunpoint into a life-changing meeting of restoration.
Bus company working with police on restorative justice scheme
from the article in the Northern Echo: A travel company is working with police on a restorative justice project after one of the windows of a bus were smashed by a 14-year-old throwing stones. Glass windows shattered when the number 22, a double decker, between Thornley and Wheatley Hill, near Peterlee, in County Durham, was attacked on the Gorehill estate. Passengers were on board when the youngster, from Ludworth, who was with three friends, struck the bus, at about 7pm on September 8 last year. No-one was hurt in the incident.
The mother finding solace after her son's murder - by visiting prisons to talk to killers
from the article in the MailOnline: There it was, tucked between the magazines on her coffee table: proof that her beloved son was going to get married. When Lyn Connolly found the engagement ring catalogue, she instantly knew what it meant. That evening, ecstatic, she teasingly challenged 28-year-old Paul about it. Paul, who had been dating teacher Izzy Harris for two years, coyly admitted their happy secret: he had asked her to marry him. They had designed a diamond ring together, which they had been waiting for the jeweller to finish before announcing the news. But just weeks after her happy discovery in August 2002, Lyn's joy was cut short. Paul was stabbed to death on a street near their Liverpool home by two men high on drugs in a motiveless and unprovoked attack. Lyn suddenly found herself planning a funeral instead of a wedding. Hers is a story that would touch the hardest of hearts. 'There is the story of what happened to Paul and the story of how we got through it,' she says. 'I rarely manage to get to the end without crying.'
I met my rapist - so I could shake his hand and tell him I have forgiven him
from the article in the Mirror News: Katja Rosenberg strode confidently across the room, introduced herself to a nervous young man and shook him warmly by the hand. It was much like any other encounter between a couple of strangers. Except it took place in jail. And the person facing her was the lad who had raped her seven years ago.
Hull boys brought face-to-face with the Bransholme woman they tormented
from the article in Hull Daily Mail: A victim of antisocial behaviour has come face-to-face with her tormentors. Anna Sipa was abused by teenage boys and girls who threatened her and kicked her front door and car, as well as banging on the windows.
Chance to talk with offender a big help
from the article from Taranaki Daily News Online: Joanna Hanson and Bryan Benton know the importance of Restorative Justice first hand. About seven years ago Joanna Hanson's husband was involved in a car accident and opted for a Restorative Justice conference. At that same conference Bryan Benton was their support person.
Leeds victim’s chat with masked burglar
From the article on the Yorkshire Evening Post: A woman who came face-to-face with a masked burglar in her kitchen has told how she invited him to sit down for a chat. Viv Hulland calmly asked the intruder, who was wearing a balaclava, to take a seat after he broke into her Leeds home in the middle of the night – just hours before she was due to attend her mother’s funeral. The teenager woke Ms Hulland and her husband, Keith, as he forced his way into their house in Chapel Allerton. Ms Hulland, 54, called the police from their bedroom but the couple then bumped into the culprit as they went to let officers in.
Teenage Wigan victim of gang attack finds peace after meeting attackers in Restorative justice scheme
from the article on mancunianmatters: A teenager from Wigan who was attacked and left with a catalogue of injuries in May has found closure after meeting with her attackers. Brave 14-year-old Amy Clarke, from Aspull, went with her mother to meet the group after police referred their case to Wigan Council’s restorative solutions team. Amy was attacked when walking along with her friend earlier this year.
The burglar who paid back
From the Restorative Justice Week 2013 materials from UK Ministry of Justice: Jason Reed was sentenced to five years in prison after admitting to more than 50 unsolved burglaries. Shortly after, he expressed his wish to start afresh and make amends. He was asked if he would like to take part in Restorative Justice.
Kris Olinger murder: Even though case is concluded, there are still wounds that can be healed
from the article by Julia Reynolds on The Herald News: A murder case that took 16 years to weave its way through the justice system concluded last week with the sentencing of a Soledad man to life in prison without chance of parole. But the trial's end does not mean an end to the questions that linger for the victim's closest surviving relative. Travis Phillips, who was 10 when his 17-year-old brother Kris Olinger was stabbed and left to die one night near the ocean in Pacific Grove, said that even after being disappointed once, he would still like to face the men and the murder that defined his life.
Victim's voice -- Restorative justice helps victims
In this video, created b the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire in the UK, Rita Watson describes having someone break into her garden shed to steal several items and destroying the garden in the process.
Real-life stories: Property damage
Central Virginia Restorative Justice provides the following vignette of restorative conference in a property damage case as one way of explaining restorative justice. A young teenager sits at a round table in our office alongside his mother, his little brother, and Restorative Justice staff members. The room is quiet as he stares intently into the light grey surface of the table, searching for an explanation for why he and some friends had spent an evening throwing large rocks at cars from a hiding spot beside a busy road. This young man isn’t deliberating over his words because he hopes to charm the staff with the answer he thinks they want to hear, and he certainly isn’t putting such energy into a bored shrug and an “I dunno.”
Newhaven crime victim receives apology from offender
from the article on Sussex Express: A Newhaven cyclist who smashed a car window after he felt a driver had cut him up, met his victim to apologise for his crime. The 46-year-old cyclist was arrested in January after a police investigation into an incident in Avis Road, in which a driver was abused by a cyclist and had his car window smashed.
The other F word
from the article by Leslie Neale on Huff Post Crime: No, not that F word! I'm talking about forgiveness -- letting go, turning the other cheek. That thing our predominantly Judeo/Christian society teaches us to do but rarely means for us to practice, especially when we or our loved ones have been wrongfully and violently harmed or even worse. When someone is gravely hurt, we cheer revenge not redemption. We don't understand if someone chooses to forgive the unforgiveable and often judge them as sick or insane. We believe punishment is the only answer for those who commit such horrific acts. Good riddance if they are locked away forever or even put to death.

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Restorative Justice Online - Featured Video

A long-time repeat offender describes the impact of meeting with his victims.