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Why can't I tell my brutal attacker that I forgive?

Feb 24, 2012

from the article in the Nottingham Post:

....Mr Ali, who lives in the Arboretum area of Nottingham, was left unconscious on the floor of St Peter's Gate after he was knocked out with one punch on at around 4.45pm on July 24, 2008.

The 48-year-old was then stamped on and kicked in his head as shoppers and passersby looked on. When he arrived at hospital, fluid from his brain was leaking out of his nose.

Jackson, then 27 and of Eddleston Drive, Clifton, was jailed for a minimum of five years after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent, part way through a retrial at Nottingham Crown Court in July 2009.

He was told he wouldn't be allowed out until he had convinced a parole board he was no longer a danger to the public.

Mr Ali, who needed four metal plates inserted into his face to support his shattered eye sockets, said it was a "life-changing" incident.

Yet the former social worker wants to tell his attacker he's forgiven.

The Probation Service, however, will not allow his request, even though he's been trying every six months for the past three years. He cannot simply fill out a prisoner visiting form, because the prison checks visitors and takes advice from the Probation Service.

In a response to one of his requests, dated November 12 last year, a senior probation officer said it was "not currently appropriate" to allow Mr Ali's request, and wouldn't say why.

It said: "There sometimes will be circumstances when information about an offender cannot be disclosed because to do so would breach the offender's right to confidentiality."

The officer added that the issue would be pursued when it was appropriate.

Mr Ali, who still finds it difficult to breathe through his nose, said: "It feels as though they are putting the rights of the offender ahead of the rights for the victim. I want to be given the opportunity to tell him he's forgiven.

"I never thought I would have the capacity to forgive, after being subjected to such a brutal attack which nearly killed me, but the incident has changed my life, in terms of my outlook on things and, amazingly, I can forgive. Notts Probation Service claim to be advocates of restorative justice, but they are not showing any evidence of this."

Read the whole article.

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lisa rea
lisa rea says:
Feb 24, 2012 05:14 PM

What an excellent article you have re-printed here. It points out a new trend that appears to show that crime victims are at times denied their rights to meet their offenders even when they have asked to do so. In this case, the victim, Mr. Ali, has chosen to forgive the offender who brutally attacked him. <br /> <br />Crime victims have a right to meet their offenders. This is becoming a new &quot;cry&quot; in the victims movement in the U.S. and globally. The justice system should not deny their requests. In this case, probation perhaps is concerned about the safety of the victim if a mediated victim offender meeting were to occur. However, with proper guidance by a restorative justice mediator or advisor some contact could occur. At the very least the expression of forgiveness should be allowed to be conveyed to the offender. Healing could occur in all those affected. Apparently, Mr. Ali has already experienced some healing from the statements made here publicly. <br /> <br />I have written articles and blog pieces on issues such as this regarding restorative justice and victims rights here at rjonline. In addition, we are having such discussions at Restorative Justice International, a global network at linkedin. It's time to change laws that would deny crime victims their right to choose restorative justice and when desired meet their offenders. <br /> <br />Lisa Rea <br />Founder <br />Restorative Justice International <br />~a global network @ linkedin.com <br />U.S. <br />Email: <a href="&#0109;ailto&#0058;reaconsulting&#0064;comcast.net">reaconsulting&#0064;comcast.net</a> <br />&nbsp;

Eva-Lynne Carlson
Eva-Lynne Carlson says:
Mar 04, 2012 11:53 PM

I read this article with interest Mr. Ali, the victim of a violent assault, stated: <br />&nbsp;&quot;Notts Probation Service claim to be advocates <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;of restorative justice, but they are not <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;showing any evidence of this.&quot; <br /> <br />Your comment, Lisa, if I understood it correctly, lends general agreement to this conclusion: <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&quot;It's time to change laws that would deny <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;crime victims their right to choose <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;restorative justice and when desired meet <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;their offenders.&quot; <br /> <br />What wasn't acknowledged was the following statement by a department spokesperson regarding the position taken in this specific, individual case (which, I believe is relevant): <br /> <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&quot;Where appropriate, the trust shares the <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;views of victims with offenders and/or <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;sentence planning boards, for example. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Decisions on the suitability of any meeting <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;between offenders and victims are <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;carefully considered on a case by case basis.&quot; <br /> <br />My question is whether or not it is reasonable to believe that in certain cases, for reasons that are perhaps not readily understood or apparent, it could *not* be in the best interests of the victim, the community or the the goals of restorative justice, as a whole, to provide for the current 'desire' of a victim to engage with the person(s) convicted? Is it possible to respect the professional opinion of those entrusted to represent such interests in the course of their duty and still empower a victim and allow for an offender's human dignity when trust means not giving the victim the exact means of healing/closure that they would like? <br /> <br />I think it would have been better received had the probation department been enabled to communicate with more transparency to Mr. Ali rather than simply denying the requests with blanket policy statements. I also think it would be worth their considering having such a communication plan in place when circumstances in an individual case are deemed 'inappropriate'. <br /> <br />I also would like to see us, collectively, extending respect and trust to the people that are entrusted to provide these services and if that is not a comfortable thought, then we are collectively responsible for solving a very big problem and asking ourselves why we would rather complacently distrust the people who should be trustworthy. <br /> <br />Just a tangential thought I had on the subject. I'm certainly not disagreeing. I believe I'm suggesting that it runs a bit deeper and that culpability and responsibility extends further still.

lisa rea
lisa rea says:
Mar 08, 2012 01:40 AM

Eva-Lynne, responding your comments above, you make some good points. However, what is clear to me is that crime victims increasingly are asking for the &quot;right&quot; to meet their offenders. No one, probation department or otherwise, should speak for crime victims if that means such offices or departments are deciding whether a crime victim has access to restorative justice. <br /> <br />Having worked closely with crime victims since 2001 in my work in the restorative justice field I can tell you I am finding more victims telling me that they are interested in exploring restorative justice and want the option to meet their offender(s). Barriers should be removed, if they exist, while providing crime victims better access to restorative justice programs. <br /> <br />So many crime victims are seeking ways of healing after violent crime. Why would we block the way? <br /> <br />Lisa Rea <br />Founder <br />Restorative Justice International <br />~a global network @ linkedin.com <br /> <br />

Dixon Terbasket
Dixon Terbasket says:
Mar 08, 2012 10:04 PM

I would like to hear more about the restorative justice an the victim and the violator i work for parolees to reinstatement in to community and would like assistance please and thank you Dixon

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