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Restorative justice and burglary victims and perpetrators.

Editor. A victim-offender conference following a burglary
In a burglary case, victim-offender conferencing helps the victims to move on from the trauma of the experience and the offender feel like he has begun to make reparations for his crime.
Yeats, Mary Ann. "Three Strikes" and Restorative Justice: Dealing With Young Repeat Burglars in Western Australia
The "three strikes" legislation increased penalties for home burglary and created a mandatory sentence for repeat offenders; a repeat offender is one who on two previous occasions has been convicted of home burglary; the third conviction results in a mandatory sentence of 12 months imprisonment or detention. The law applies to juveniles, and criminal responsibility begins at age 10 for children in Western Australia, provided that, in the case of a child under the age of 14 years, it is proved that the child had the capacity to know that she/he ought not to do the offense. On two occasions, however, juvenile judges gave very young habitual juvenile burglars who qualified for the "three strikes" law intensive supervision, with the condition that any violation of supervision conditions would result in 12 months detention. The judges received criticism for these decisions in the media. Still, 58 young offenders have now been sentenced under the law. the Children's Court is dealing with approximately seven or eight repeat home burglary offenders each month. Criticisms of "three strikes" laws fall into a number of categories: longer sentences have not been effective in reducing crime and recidivism; mandatory minimum penalties have considerable potential for injustice; court caseloads will be impacted by the increased demand for jury trials; and resources will be diverted from social and prevention programs to fund larger prison populations. During the same period when "three strikes" laws gained popular support in the United Kingdom, United States, and Western Australia, a much different process, reconciliation, was being tried both internationally and nationally in various parts of the world. Restorative justice gives the community the opportunity to become directly involved with crime and with young offenders. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,
Anonymous. Some Burglary Victims 'Paralysed by Fear'
Due to cultural differences, many Asian victims of burglary are sceptical of restorative justice and fear offender backlash. Many of these victims have hard time adjusting back into society and often tend to demonise their offenders. Those that have participated in victim-offender encounters, however, have been able to reconcile with their offenders. Through restorative justice, Asians are able to speak their mind without feeling the need to suppress their feelings for fear of another attack.
Van Ness, Daniel W. Doing One Thing Well: Applying Restorative Justice to A Specific Crime.
Dan Van Ness proposes that a broad-based international coalition select a particular crime that would become the subject of a global campaign to reduce its incidence and the harm resulting from it. He suggests burglary might be a likely candidate and outlines a process for laying the groundwork for such a campaign. The basic premise underlying his proposal is that most countries have not made significant commitments to restorative justice. Firmly establishing restorative justice in a part of the criminal justice system that cannot be marginalized (as might juvenile cases, for example) will make wholesale adoption of restorative justice more likely.
Penal Reform International. Rapport de monitoring et de recherche sur la Gacaca - Le jugement des infractions contre les biens commises pendant le génocide : le contraste entre la théorie de la réparation et la réalité socio-économique du Rwanda
This report focuses on the cases involving property offences committed during the genocide. Such cases are complex due to the varying degrees of responsibility: did the perpetrators engage in the looting of an abandoned home as a means of survival or were they involved in the organised and systematic destruction of property to eliminate all traces of the genocide victims? Other complexities inevitably arise as so many years have passed since the events took place: how is it possible to prove who took what and when? Who should pay compensation and how much? Does compensation improve the chances of reconciliation or does it only serve to increase tensions? Drawing on extensive field research and testimony from all those involved in the gacaca process, this report highlights the many complexities but also the importance of these cases in the context of extreme poverty in post-war Rwanda. (publisher's abstract)

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