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The burglar who paid back

Nov 20, 2013

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.

Although understandably nervous, Jason was keen to participate: “My personal resolve wasn’t enough to stop me from returning to prison last time. I knew I needed to fully engage my emotions by meeting my victims and I knew that hearing directly from them would be a powerful experience.”

Full assessments were completed to make sure that everyone was 100% committed to the process. In the end, five of Jason’s victims, involved in three different crimes, agreed to meet him. The three men and two women had all been affected in different ways and had different motivations for wanting to take part. One found that the conference stirred up more emotions than she expected and over the course of the three conferences, there were tears, anger, apologies, acceptance and even forgiveness.

The consistent message from the victims was that they wanted Jason to accept the help and support available to him and turn his life around so that he wouldn’t re-offend when he was released.

Meeting his victims had a huge impact on Jason and he took it upon himself to commit to compensating his victims for things he had stolen. He saw this as an important step in continuing to make amends for the harm he had caused. He is now using the money he makes from his job in prison to pay back his victims in instalments.

Jason said: “This was real, not just theory. For these people, I was the big bogeyman and because I have a conscience, the meetings were hard. Restorative Justice is powerful stuff. It was something I needed to do and am glad I did it.”

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