Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Real People, Real Stories

Stories of actual victims, offenders and community members who have participated in restorative processes help illustrate the benefits and limitations of restorative justice practices.

Jones, Mike. Surrogate Mediation for Murder Victim's Daughter
This article tells the personal stories of a victim who wanted to meet with the offender who murdered her mother and an offender her wanted to meet with his daughter after killing his wife. Since the two cases were not found suitable for direct victim/offender mediation, the two individuals chose surrogate mediation.
Hutchison, Katy. The Story of Bob
Katy Hutchison shares a compelling, real life story with the justice community. In this very personalized presentation, entitled The Story of Bob, Katy clearly describes how alcohol and other drug use, peer pressure, and misguided choices in an unchaperoned setting caused the tragic murder of her husband Bob. Through a powerful and poignant multi-media presentation, Katy shares how this traumatic event impacted her as a wife and as a mother of two young children. Her personal and interactive presentation is designed to explores the power of forgiveness and describes her own grassroots quest for restorative justice. Katy has participated in a victim offender reconciliations with both her husband's assailants. She has continued to communicate with one of the offenders and is hoping to have him work with her as she continues to tell her story to school classrooms, offender groups, victim service providers, justice conferences and restorative justice forums. Since September 2004 Katy has addressed over 50,000 people in her audiences. In addition, she is currently working on two documentary projects (one commercial and one educational) and a book proposal. Abstract courtesy of the Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University, http://justpeace.massey.ac.nz.
Editor. Enlightening experience
Being part of a restorative justice conference was an enlightening experience for Sergeant Andrew O’Reilly. “I can be as cynical as the best of them, but this conference was quite interesting. “It definitely opened my eyes to the way restorative justice can have a beneficial effect. I think it’s a positive process. “It is case specific, and each case needs to be weighed up on its merits.â€? The conference Andrew attended related to a road fatality. (excerpt)
Editor. Potential for Cross-cultural Healing
Two recent restorative justice conferences held on a marae demonstrated the potential for cross-cultural healing through the court-referred restorative justice process. The conferences followed guilty pleas by three young men who had damaged an irreplaceable Maori carving at the entrance to the whare. (excerpt)
Kelly, Russell. Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program – In the Beginning
Russell Kelly is now a restorative justice practitioner in Kitchener, Ontario. In 1974 he was a teenager who, with a friend, both under the influence of alcohol, committed a number of acts of vandalism one night in Elmira, Ontario. After being apprehended, they were turned over to Mark Yantzi, a probation officer and volunteer with the Mennonite Central Committee in Kitchener, and to Dave Worth, another volunteer. Yantzi and Worth, in coordination with the courts, arranged for the teenagers to meet with their victims to apologize, to hear their victims’ statements, to ask forgiveness of their victims, and to determine restitution. Thus arose the Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program in Kitchener and an oft-repeated story of the emergence of modern day victim-offender mediation.
Blomquist, Todd. Restorative Justice – Reflections on Dialogue
At the time of writing this reflection, Todd Blomquist was a resident of the Restorative Justice Unit at Grande Cache Institution, Alberta, Canada. Here he shares aspects of his personal journey into crime, as well his experiences in prison, particularly his exposure to restorative justice ideas and values through peacemaking circles at Grande Cache Institution. He credits these circles with his growing awareness of the impact of his crimes and his lifestyle decisions on himself and on others. He expresses the growth and hope he has gained from restorative justice ideas, the circles and peer support in the Restorative Justice Unit, and the welding career he is learning while incarcerated.
Radunsky, Pam. Reflections on ‘Engaging Us All in the Dialogue’
In this short essay, Pam Radunsky reflects personally on the meaning of the theme for Restorative Justice Week 2004 in Canada: “Engaging Us All in the Dialogue.‿ Her sister, Kristen French, was abducted and murdered by two men in southern Ontario in 1992. The same men abducted and murdered several other young women over a period of time. Recounting the effects of the crime and the criminal justice process on her and her family, as well as numerous conversations she has had over the years with others about this trauma and about the experiences of other crime victims, she notes that engaging in this kind of dialogue is anything but pleasant. Nevertheless, she underscores the deep value of dialogue for those affected by crime. Out of all of this, Radunsky has become a restorative justice practitioner in Ontario.
Walker, Lorenn. Beyond Policy: Conferencing on Student Misbehavior
In this article Lorenn Walker looks at the use of conferencing to deal with student misbehavior. Conferencing is a process for conflict resolution. It focuses on repairing relationships when offenders admit wrongdoing. The process brings together the parties who have a stake in the conflict and its potential resolution: victims; offenders; families and friends; and communities. While it is often used in criminal justice settings, many are employing it in school settings as well. Walker recounts the story of using a conference to deal with her own son’s victimization by another student in school. She describes the conference process, the Real Justice model of conferencing, and benefits of conferencing in terms of addressing the infraction and in decreasing repeat offenses.
Radunsky, Pam. Restorative Justice: Humanizing Justice
Restorative Justice Week is a week dedicated to education about and advancement of restorative justice among churches and the public in general. Pam Radunsky presented this paper at a public forum entitled "Restorative justice: Humanizing justice" during Restorative Justice Week 2003, held in Ottawa, Canada, November 19. In this address, Radunsky relates the effects on her and her family from the abduction and murder of her younger sister in Canada. She explains their experiences of the criminal justice system, and she goes on to discuss the changes she and her family underwent in the months and years after the end of the formal court proceedings. In particular Randunsky describes how, through all of this, she eventually began to work in restorative justice to help bring victims and offenders together through community justice conferencing and the Collaborative Justice Project in Ottawa.
Dunn, Michel. Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice Week is a week dedicated to education about and advancement of restorative justice among churches and the public in general. Michel Dunn presented this paper at a public forum entitled “Restorative justice: Humanizing justice" during Restorative Justice Week 2003, held in Ottawa, Canada, November 19. According to Dunn, while restorative justice as a term is a relatively new concept in Canada, it is in fact an approach to wrongdoing that is much older. Aboriginal people have used this kind of approach for a long time. Dunn goes on to point out that restorative justice has even been applied for a long time to deal with the most serious crime of all – murder. He illustrates this using his own life as example. When he was younger, Dunn killed his law partner, a crime for which he was convicted and incarcerated. In this paper he recounts his journey back from that darkness through the restorative efforts of a number of people visiting him in jail.
Nelson, Tanya. Meeting Offenders: How A Restorative Justice Program Changed A Robbery Victim’s Life.
On September 4, 1999, the way I view the world changed forever when I was robbed at gunpoint at an ATM. Here I am, almost seven years later a changed person, excited to talk about what Restorative Justice and Victim/ Offender Conferencing have done for me. To my own surprise, I have found Restorative Justice has the power to take away much of the anger I felt, empower me, and ultimately give me a sense of peace I never thought I'd have again.(excerpt)
Randall, Cynthia. An AmeriCorps Member’s Experience...so far.
My experience as an AmeriCorps volunteer community mediator has been a very enlightening experience. Although I have only served eight months, I already realize that it is essential for community mediation and other forms of conflict resolution to thrive. There are still a number of communities, populations, and social arenas that can benefit from our services. Nevertheless, the true challenges appear to be the development of a conscious awareness of our skills and accessibility in the communities we serve, as well as volunteer recruitment and training in those communities. (excerpt)
Warren, Jenifer. A Journey Toward Healing. Restorative justice brings crime victims and perpetrators together to confront the loss. It's helping one grieving widow find forgiveness.
Deep inside this infamous old prison, Patty O'Reilly stands before eight men doing hard time, her shoulders slumped, a man's gold wedding band hanging from a chain around her neck. Three of the inmates are sobbing. The others sit motionless on metal chairs, eyes locked on the small, sad woman in front of them. O'Reilly's words seep out. A ballet teacher from Sonoma, she has come to San Quentin to share a story -- about the killing of a husband and the trauma caused by that loss. She tells of two daughters left fatherless, of a widow, not yet 40, paralyzed by grief. Weeping now, O'Reilly describes happy futures shredded in an instant by one man's single, terrible act. (excerpt)
Nelson, Tanya. Meeting Offenders: How a Restorative Justice Program Changed a Robbery Victim’s Life.
On September 4, 1999, the way I view the world changed forever when I was robbed at gunpoint at an ATM. Here I am, almost seven years later, a changed person, excited to talk about what restorative justice and the victim-offender conferencing have done for me. To my own surprise, I have found restorative justice has power to take away much of the anger I felt, empower me, and ultimately give me a sense of peace I never thought I’d have again. (excerpt)
Stevenson, John and Mills, David. Resolving Neighbour Disputes and Tackling: Anti-Social Behaviour: Three cases studies examine the recent success.
The Anti-Social Behaviour Unit at Places for People has used restorative justice in dealing with anti-social behaviour with great success.Three recent case studies are illustrated in this article. (excerpt)
Brown, Katherine A. and Coates, Robert B. and Umbreit, Mark S. and Vos, Betty. Facilitated Dialogue on Death Row: Family Members of Murder Victims and Inmates Share Their Experiences.
The Texas Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue Program chose to act upon the requests of the four victims [requesting dialogue with death row inmates] and obtained permission from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for the dialogues to take place. The following analysis of what these seven participants had to say about their experience is offered, in part, so that readers can reach their own conclusions about the impact of these meetings and the advisability of offering such a service in capital cases. (excerpt)
Ritter, Rina and Umbreit, Mark S.. Arab Offenders Meet Jewish Victim: Restorative Family Dialogue in Israel.
A case example of restorative family dialogue involving young Arab offenders who committed an armed robbery against a Jewish victim in Israel who experienced the crime as an act of terrorism was found to be highly effective in resolving the conflict and building stronger relations between the two communities. While on a microbasis this bodes well for future relations in the region, numerous obstacles exist to widespread use of restorative justice dialogue in Israel and the occupied territories. (author’s abstract)
Hutchison, Katy. Walking after Midnight: One woman's journey through murder, justice & forgiveness.
"Walking After Midnight tells a story at turns devastating and triumphant, a unique exploration of one woman's courageous response to tragedy that challenges our expectations about grief and loss. It's an inspiring account of the power of forgiveness, compassion, and a different kind of justice." (from publisher's description)
Editor. Fear
This issue of the Central Virginia Restorative Justice newsletter tells the story of a teen who robbed a woman's store. The teen felt very guilty about it and the storeowner found herself deeply taxed emotionally in coping with the break-in. Eventually the two met and he was able to express his remorse. The two were able to successfully reconcile.
Editor. Make No Little Plans
This issue of the Central Virginia Restorative Justice newsletter focuses on a story about the healing victim-offender mediation and brought to the victim and offender involved in a violent burglary.

Document Actions

Restorative Justice Online - Featured Video

Restorative Justice Library Search

Search 11139 publications on restorative justice