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Personal Stories

The experiences of victims and offenders with restorative justice.

Gunman at my door: How one sentence saved my life
from the article by Prison Fellowship England & Wales: Robert*, a Prison Fellowship volunteer on our Sycamore Tree programme, shares with us how he was determined to turn a few moments of terror at gunpoint into a life-changing meeting of restoration.
Rosemary Owings on Hull boys brought face-to-face with the Bransholme woman they tormented
We need more of this kind of involvement helps both parties!
Bus company working with police on restorative justice scheme
from the article in the Northern Echo: A travel company is working with police on a restorative justice project after one of the windows of a bus were smashed by a 14-year-old throwing stones. Glass windows shattered when the number 22, a double decker, between Thornley and Wheatley Hill, near Peterlee, in County Durham, was attacked on the Gorehill estate. Passengers were on board when the youngster, from Ludworth, who was with three friends, struck the bus, at about 7pm on September 8 last year. No-one was hurt in the incident.
Marianne Asher-Chapman on The mother finding solace after her son's murder - by visiting prisons to talk to killers
I feel exactly the same way. Working with this program in Missouri has helped me so much in living after the disappearance/murder of my daughter [...]
The mother finding solace after her son's murder - by visiting prisons to talk to killers
from the article in the MailOnline: There it was, tucked between the magazines on her coffee table: proof that her beloved son was going to get married. When Lyn Connolly found the engagement ring catalogue, she instantly knew what it meant. That evening, ecstatic, she teasingly challenged 28-year-old Paul about it. Paul, who had been dating teacher Izzy Harris for two years, coyly admitted their happy secret: he had asked her to marry him. They had designed a diamond ring together, which they had been waiting for the jeweller to finish before announcing the news. But just weeks after her happy discovery in August 2002, Lyn's joy was cut short. Paul was stabbed to death on a street near their Liverpool home by two men high on drugs in a motiveless and unprovoked attack. Lyn suddenly found herself planning a funeral instead of a wedding. Hers is a story that would touch the hardest of hearts. 'There is the story of what happened to Paul and the story of how we got through it,' she says. 'I rarely manage to get to the end without crying.'
I met my rapist - so I could shake his hand and tell him I have forgiven him
from the article in the Mirror News: Katja Rosenberg strode confidently across the room, introduced herself to a nervous young man and shook him warmly by the hand. It was much like any other encounter between a couple of strangers. Except it took place in jail. And the person facing her was the lad who had raped her seven years ago.
Hull boys brought face-to-face with the Bransholme woman they tormented
from the article in Hull Daily Mail: A victim of antisocial behaviour has come face-to-face with her tormentors. Anna Sipa was abused by teenage boys and girls who threatened her and kicked her front door and car, as well as banging on the windows.
Chance to talk with offender a big help
from the article from Taranaki Daily News Online: Joanna Hanson and Bryan Benton know the importance of Restorative Justice first hand. About seven years ago Joanna Hanson's husband was involved in a car accident and opted for a Restorative Justice conference. At that same conference Bryan Benton was their support person.
Leeds victim’s chat with masked burglar
From the article on the Yorkshire Evening Post: A woman who came face-to-face with a masked burglar in her kitchen has told how she invited him to sit down for a chat. Viv Hulland calmly asked the intruder, who was wearing a balaclava, to take a seat after he broke into her Leeds home in the middle of the night – just hours before she was due to attend her mother’s funeral. The teenager woke Ms Hulland and her husband, Keith, as he forced his way into their house in Chapel Allerton. Ms Hulland, 54, called the police from their bedroom but the couple then bumped into the culprit as they went to let officers in.
Teenage Wigan victim of gang attack finds peace after meeting attackers in Restorative justice scheme
from the article on mancunianmatters: A teenager from Wigan who was attacked and left with a catalogue of injuries in May has found closure after meeting with her attackers. Brave 14-year-old Amy Clarke, from Aspull, went with her mother to meet the group after police referred their case to Wigan Council’s restorative solutions team. Amy was attacked when walking along with her friend earlier this year.
The burglar who paid back
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.
Kris Olinger murder: Even though case is concluded, there are still wounds that can be healed
from the article by Julia Reynolds on The Herald News: A murder case that took 16 years to weave its way through the justice system concluded last week with the sentencing of a Soledad man to life in prison without chance of parole. But the trial's end does not mean an end to the questions that linger for the victim's closest surviving relative. Travis Phillips, who was 10 when his 17-year-old brother Kris Olinger was stabbed and left to die one night near the ocean in Pacific Grove, said that even after being disappointed once, he would still like to face the men and the murder that defined his life.
Victim's voice -- Restorative justice helps victims
In this video, created b the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire in the UK, Rita Watson describes having someone break into her garden shed to steal several items and destroying the garden in the process.
Real-life stories: Property damage
Central Virginia Restorative Justice provides the following vignette of restorative conference in a property damage case as one way of explaining restorative justice. A young teenager sits at a round table in our office alongside his mother, his little brother, and Restorative Justice staff members. The room is quiet as he stares intently into the light grey surface of the table, searching for an explanation for why he and some friends had spent an evening throwing large rocks at cars from a hiding spot beside a busy road. This young man isn’t deliberating over his words because he hopes to charm the staff with the answer he thinks they want to hear, and he certainly isn’t putting such energy into a bored shrug and an “I dunno.”
Newhaven crime victim receives apology from offender
from the article on Sussex Express: A Newhaven cyclist who smashed a car window after he felt a driver had cut him up, met his victim to apologise for his crime. The 46-year-old cyclist was arrested in January after a police investigation into an incident in Avis Road, in which a driver was abused by a cyclist and had his car window smashed.
The other F word
from the article by Leslie Neale on Huff Post Crime: No, not that F word! I'm talking about forgiveness -- letting go, turning the other cheek. That thing our predominantly Judeo/Christian society teaches us to do but rarely means for us to practice, especially when we or our loved ones have been wrongfully and violently harmed or even worse. When someone is gravely hurt, we cheer revenge not redemption. We don't understand if someone chooses to forgive the unforgiveable and often judge them as sick or insane. We believe punishment is the only answer for those who commit such horrific acts. Good riddance if they are locked away forever or even put to death.
What happens at a restorative justice conference?
From the Why me? website: When victims and offenders sit down and meet at a Restorative Justice Conference,what is said remains confidential. When people talk about their experience of restorative justice (such as on this website), it’s because everyone involved in the meeting has agreed to going public.
Crime victims find healing through restorative justice
From the article by Jasmin Lopez on KALW : Dionne Wilson's husband, a San Leandro police officer, was killed in the line of duty seven years ago, but she says it took her a long time to find a way to really heal. “For many years, I carried around so much vengeance and hate. I realized at a certain point I had nothing left. I had no more tools. I engaged in a lot of self-destructive behavior. I tried to buy my way out of my grief; I tried to drink my way out for a short period. Thankfully, I didn’t take that too far. And I just didn’t have a way to move past being embroiled in the moment,” says Wilson.
Meeting criminals helps the healing
From the article by Tess McClureon For Linda Dyne, meeting her son's killer was the first step toward moving on. When 25-year-old Justin Dyne disappeared in winter 2000, Dyne never saw him again. Months later, his strangled body was found dumped in Auckland's Waitakere Ranges, and Tristan Lawson, 22, received a life sentence for his murder. For years, Dyne struggled to move past her anger. "I loved my son dearly and had a special bond with him because he had a disability. So to lose him just broke my heart," she said. But two years after Justin's death, Linda chose to meet Tristan through a restorative justice (RJ) conference, where victims meet offenders to discuss the impact of the crime and seek ways of redressing harm.
Burglar turns his life around after meeting victim
From the article by Lisa Jones on the Gloucestershire Echo: A reformed burglar has turned his life around after meeting one of his victims face to face. Jamie Hooper broke into homes in Gloucestershire and stole whatever he could carry to feed his drug habit.

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