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Personal Stories

The experiences of victims and offenders with restorative justice.

Families of slain Israeli and Palestinian teens turn to each other for comfort
from the article on the Jewish Daily Forward: The families of murdered Israeli teen Naftali Fraenkel and murdered Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir are drawing comfort from an unexpected source: each other.
After assault, woman finds hope and career in restorative justice
from the article on NPR: Lorenn Walker works to help both victims and offenders after crimes are committed. She's a restorative lawyer from the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii, where she focuses on violence prevention and works on reentry programs for prisoners. Her work in restorative justice began after a personal encounter with crime, when she was assaulted 38 years ago.
Offender: “Sycamore Tree is not just a course, but a life changer”
from the article by PF England and Wales: I completed this course some months ago, but I am still experiencing the benefits even today. I am a huge advocate of Sycamore Tree as it has opened my eyes to the impact of my crime on numerous people, especially those who I did not know about, those who were victims through the ripple effect.
Marianne Asher-Chapman on How far would you go to stop another crime?
This is a good article. Thank you. I so believe in this program and regularly volunteer. It helps me a lot when I tell my [...]
How far would you go to stop another crime?
from the story on Sycamore Voices: It’s easy to feel helpless about the rate of crime in our society but a growing number of people are facing this fear and participating in the justice system to make it more effective for our communities. They have a holistic view of crime that looks at the total impact of harm – starting with the victim – and takes practical steps to deal with it.
Home raid victim meets her burglar
from the article in The Argus: A burglary victim has told how she met the man who broke into her family’s home. The homeowner met the jailed burglar through the Sussex Restorative Justice Partnership – a scheme where victims meet offenders to tell them how they feel.
Sycamore Tree Project® is ‘tougher on crime’
from the article by Melissa Hutton: With a lump in my throat coupled with a sense of nervousness, I entered the Correctional Centre with my fellow victims of crime and the facilitators of the Sycamore Tree Project. What transpired throughout the next 8 weeks was extraordinary.
Paula's story
from the article from the Restorative Justice Council: "It was January, and I was walking my dog some time after 4pm – it was almost dark. It was absolutely freezing, and I was walking along a well-lit footpath near where I live. My phone rang, and I dug it out of my pocket – I was so wrapped up against the cold that only my eyes and nose were uncovered.
Getting to the root of restorative justice on the radio
from the article by Citlalli Chávez: How do you define restorative justice? This question is commonly being asked throughout Boyle Heights, and was the inspiration for the Restorative Justice Pilot Radio Project (RJPR), which took place from October 2013 to April 2014. Students from Boyle Heights high schools, along with artist Omar Ramirez, helped launch this pilot initiative, getting to the root of Restorative Justice by asking each other and members of their community about the subject.
Realising the potential of restorative justice – Billy’s story
from the article on Informa: Throughout its decade-long working history in Victoria’s Youth Justice Group Conferencing space, Jesuit Social Services has facilitated hundreds of improved outcomes for young offenders and their victims. For Glen McClure, the organisation’s Youth Justice Group Conferencing Coordinator, few stories have resonated as deeply as that of Billy (not his real name).
'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.
Kathryn on Face-to-face with crime
It would be interesting to follow up on those who have been vindicated through restorative justice, to see if they commit further offenses.
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”.
W Bridges on Discipline with dignity: Oakland classrooms try healing instead of punishment
Happy endings are good. Admittedly the results of this RJ intervention were probably more the exception than the rule, but it is a good example [...]
Jain on Discipline with dignity: Oakland classrooms try healing instead of punishment
Yes,the boy should have been made to realise the mistake,asked to suggest his own punishment and assurance of corrective behaviour.How so ever the stress he [...]
D. Thomas on Discipline with dignity: Oakland classrooms try healing instead of punishment
Good story, but it seems too "happy ending". After more of than 20 years of experience, I hope that this RJ can improve the current [...]
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.

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