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Personal Stories

The experiences of victims and offenders with restorative justice.

Getting my mugger to explain why
from the article on BBC News Magazine: Everyone wants to see less crime on Britain's streets, but it is not often we get an opportunity to take part in the fight, in person. Arriving at Littlehey Prison near Huntingdon, it felt to me like it was worth a try. One dark night in March 2012, I was walking home after a long day at work when a stocky young man with a hood, mask, and knife came from behind me and demanded my phone and wallet. I did the right thing, handing them over, and he was off, leaving me shaken and unhurt. His final words were, "Don't call the police. I've got a mate watching you".
Burglar shocked about grandchildren
From article on the Why me? website: John crept into Larry’s house in the early hours of the morning. He took his iphone and car keys from right beside his sleeping head and then stole his car. Larry woke the next morning with a shock to realise he had been burgled. Struggling to come to terms with the burglary and his loss, Larry was deeply affected by the crime, losing sleep, changing his car, and eventually moving house.
Cathyji on Review: The Final Gift: A documentary film
I have not yet watched the documentary nor read the book. But reading what happened to your brother and your personal process hit home for [...]
Restorative Justice in Belfast — a different way to right wrongs
From the article by Abigail Curtis in Bangor Daily News: The dimly lit gathering space of the Unitarian Universalist Church made a cool setting last month for an event that promised to get a little hot under the collar. The incidents that led up to the circle of earnest people wrestling with ideas of justice and punishment at the church began last August, when three young men from Belfast got drunk and engaged in a destructive, late-night vandalism spree. They broke windows at MacLeod Furniture, the Belfast Dance Studio and the city park snack stand, and left broken glass in City Park Pool.
Victim makes teen car prowlers face up to crime spree
from the article by Christine Clarridge in The Seattle Times: When Eliza Webb found a stranger’s cellphone inside her ransacked car last month, it didn’t take a lot of sleuthing to determine two things: one, the cellphone probably belonged to the person who’d prowled her car; and two, the culprit was likely a teen. Webb, who works with high-school students and is married to a man who has paid dearly for a youthful indiscretion, paused before summoning police. “I think bringing the police and courts into something like this can have long-term, devastating consequences for kids,” said Webb, 29, of West Seattle.
Wilma Derksen: When polarity in forgiveness happens
In this sixteen-minute video, Wilma Derksen shares the devastating impact of her daughter's murder and her choice to seek forgiveness.
Meeting with a killer
In this 45 minute video, Linda White and her granddaughter talk about the murder of Linda's daughter in 1986 and their decision to meet with the offender. It describes the preparation process for each and what the process meant for them.
Ssshhh…..CDC believes restorative justice will bring peace in our time!
from the article in Cotswold District Council Online: At Cotswold District Council the spotlight will focus on the role of Restorative Justice in resolving noise-related conflict. In other words, CDC officers will be informing the public how members of a community can come together and work out an agreed solution to a noise problem. CDC Environmental Health Officer, Rachel Kayani, is a keen advocate of this approach:
Restorative justice does work, says career burglar who has turned life around on Teesside
from the article by Lucy Richardson for the Darlington and Stockton Times: A hardened burglar who has turned his life around after meeting two of his traumatised victims is backing a new ‘restorative justice’ scheme. To Peter Woolf, stealing a laptop to pay for his heroin habit could be justified - the owner was rich and could easily afford to replace it. But when he was told that it had belonged to a heart and lung transplant surgeon and stored notes about critically ill patients as well as a research paper ready to be sent to the Lancet medical journal, the impact of his crimes suddenly hit home.
Restorative justice is the heart of nonviolent change
from the entry by Ken Butigan on ZNet: We’re so trained in the art and science of retribution that it’s sometimes hard to get a fix on what restorative justice is. I got a clue several years ago when my colleague Cynthia Stateman shared the following story. Cynthia was very close to her Uncle John. He was a doctor in their hometown, and when she was growing up she would often make the rounds with him visiting the sick. He was the town’s first African-American physician, and had built a clinic that served sharecroppers and mill workers. One night, years later, Cynthia got a call from a cousin telling her that her uncle had been killed by a young white man intent on robbing his clinic. The assailant had shoved her 75-year-old uncle against a wall. He fell, gasped for breath — and then suddenly died. The would-be robber phoned 911 but then ran for it, only to be quickly captured. Cynthia immediately flew home to be with her family.
"I felt healed": Mum met burglar who stole precious memories of her dead daughter
from the article by Sally Beck in the Mirror: When Margaret Foxley found out her house had been burgled and a laptop, camera and jewellery had been taken by a drug addict, she wanted him locked up and the key thrown away for good. She had thought of her home as a sanctuary where she could live safely with her husband Paul, her son Oliver and daughter Jessica.
Restorative justice reflections
The following letter was submitted to the Driftwood as part of Salt Spring’s Restorative Justice program. Restorative Justice. That name never clicked in my head when the officer brought it up. He gave me two options, one was court, and the other Restorative Justice.
Can forgiveness play a role in criminal justice?
from the article by Paul Tullis in the New York Times ….Baliga laid out the ground rules: Campbell would read the charges and summarize the police and sheriff’s reports; next the Grosmaires would speak; then Conor; then the McBrides; and finally Foley, representing the community. No one was to interrupt. Baliga showed a picture of Ann, sticking out her tongue as she looks at the camera. If her parents heard anything Ann wouldn’t like, they would hold up the picture to silence the offending party. Everyone seemed to feel the weight of what was happening. “You could feel her there,” Conor told me.
brian on Jodi Cadman finds peace after forgiving man who murdered her brother
I recall back in the 1990's, I was really gung-ho about both capital and corporal punishment (the latter inspired by the hasrh Singaporean system). However, [...]
Law professor says ‘restorative justice’ can heal
from the article by Kieth Upchurch in the Herald Sun: To illustrate how communication can make a profound difference in people’s lives, Powell showed a video of interviews with a young couple whose home was broken into while they were gone and the two teens who did it. Through mediation, the boys said they came to realize how deeply they hurt the couple, who suffered anger and fear after the break-in. In turn, the couple said talking face-to-face helped them to understand the boys’ actions, and they eventually forgave them.
Presentations of The Final Gift
Thank you for your review of Therese Bartholomew's film, The Final Gift. I have seen this film shown at two different churches, with Therese there [...]
Review: The Final Gift: A documentary film
Reviewed by Lynette Parker The Final Gift-- A Documentary Film offers an intimate look into one woman’s journey of healing following the violent death of her brother. Therese Bartholemew’s brother, Steve, died after being shot in an altercation at a club. This film results from her attempt to understand what happened and its impact on their family. It chronicles their emotions and responses from receiving the first phone call to the sentencing to Therese’s meeting with the offender.
Restorative practices in the university: How two professors and a student worked together to resolve conflict
from the article by Mary Hoeft, Sarah Bennett and Altravis Lewis: Altravis sat in the back of my algebra class. He missed class often. His work showed evidence of his struggle. When I focused on him, I could see a look of disengagement. One day as I stood at the front of the classroom discussing a problem, I heard Altravis shout out in frustration. I was shaken and scared. I knew that his outburst had rattled students. After class, I approached Altravis and asked what was going on. He apologized and explained that it wouldn’t happen again.
Community justice: The power of the panel
from the article by Emma Kasprzak for BBC News: "I could feel the tension and hatred when they came into the room - but three quarters of an hour later there were buckets of tears." John Gallagher describes a neighbour dispute which had run for seven years and descended into an anti-social behaviour case.
Fairness, justice and restoring lives
from the article by Steven Teske on Juvenile Justice Information Exchange During a hot summer day, daycare workers removed children from a van, except one — Jazzmin Green. She was two years old. Sixteen-year-old Miesha Ridley was responsible for checking off the names of the children as they were removed. There was a mark next to Jazzmin’s name. An hour passed before anyone noticed she was missing. They found her in the van unconscious — still strapped to her car seat. She died from the heat. Miesha and two adult workers were arrested. Miesha admitted to voluntary manslaughter — it was time for disposition. Jazzmin’s parents made it clear that anything other than prison for Miesha would be “unfair.” They just buried their child and the pain was eating at them. During the hearing, Mr. Green shared these feelings of unfairness and asked that “justice” be done.

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