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Addressing the harm done in a crime

Nov 28, 2014

from the article by Bill Pesch in Guampdn:

...To this day, nearly 20 years later, recalling these events still makes my blood boil. I have no sense of finality or resolution. Most disturbing, I never learned why the kid chose me to vandalize and I've never received an apology. I feel like the system let me down.

These emotions welled up again in me a few weeks ago when I was attending a class in restorative justice at the University of Guam. Dave Afaisen, a counselor at the Department of Youth Affairs, and his son, Sage, were guest speakers. They told us a story very similar to mine.

Back in 2004, the family was living in Inarajan. Dave returned home after work one day to find his house ransacked. Most disturbing to him, his wife and children, the bedrooms had received the brunt of the damage. Like me, the family was filled with outrage and anger. They felt violated and the security they once felt in their own home was completely shattered....

As they told their story, I kept nodding my head. I thought I knew where this story was going. But their story soon took a much different turn than mine. A few weeks after the burglary, a neighbor approached them with the identity of the burglar, a youth from the village. The boy was arrested and the juvenile justice system kicked in.

Following discussions among the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the juvenile offender, and at Dave's family's request, the case was referred to Inafa' Maolek's Restorative Justice program....

Dave Afaisen's story had a very different outcome from mine. His and his family's emotional scars have long since healed following a successful restorative justice session....

Read the whole article.

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