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Burglary

Although technically a nonviolent crime, burglary -- especially of a residence -- can have a significant impact on crime victims. These articles describe how restorative processes have been used to address the material, emotional, physical and relational injuries that can follow burglary.

Addressing the harm done in a crime
from the article by Bill Pesch in Guampdn-com: ...To this day, nearly 20 years later, recalling these events still makes my blood boil. I have no sense of finality or resolution. Most disturbing, I never learned why the kid chose me to vandalize and I've never received an apology. I feel like the system let me down. These emotions welled up again in me a few weeks ago when I was attending a class in restorative justice at the University of Guam. Dave Afaisen, a counselor at the Department of Youth Affairs, and his son, Sage, were guest speakers. They told us a story very similar to mine.
Crime victims meet offenders in new restorative justice programme
from the article by Rachel Millard in The Argus: A mother said it “felt good” to look a burglar in the eye and explain the damage he caused her family. Tracey Clift sat down with the thief who took irreplaceable items including the medal her grandfather had won in the First World War and a charm bracelet from her father. She went to meet him in Lewes Prison, where the burglar is serving time for other crimes, almost five years after he broke into her Worthing home via the kitchen window and stole “most of our family history” from the safe.
Restorative Justice Conference between R and Mr Q
from the case report by Mark Creitzman: It was at this point, that Mr Q mentioned that he felt that he would like to be able to forgive R by the end of the meeting and that he had a challenge for R to consider. Mr Q asked R if he was up to a challenge and he nodded ‘Yes’. Mr Q said that if R could prove that he wanted to change the path of his life and made progress in Cookham Wood, that on his exit from the YOI, Mr Q would mentor him and support him through his transition. Mr Q told us that his long-term plan could involve R and himself using the negativity of the offence and turning it in to a ‘power for good’ and delivering sessions to schools, YOIs, colleges or universities.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
Power of One: Restorative justice couples victims with offenders
from the article on CTV.ca: ....A woman named Marité has been taking part in the process, not by facing her sexually-abusive father, but rather, another man who committed similar acts. She said that results have helped her cope with the damage she suffered. "For him it was like I was his daughter," said Marité. "And I was able also to express my anger to him and that's what he wanted rather than silence from his daughter." "I can now go forward because I'm not bound to my father anymore. I can leave him go."
Young vandals ordered to put Somerset factory damage right
from the article in the Western Gazette: A gang of youths who broke into a Castle Cary factory have been ordered to make amends by washing site windows and picking up rubbish by a restorative justice panel. A three-month police campaign which tracked down 14 children involved with causing £1,000 of damage to the Torbay Road factory ended last month.
The conversation: Does restorative justice work? Yes!
from the interview by Oliver Laughland in The Guardian: The Ministry of Justice is considering increasing the use of restorative justice – in which offenders are encouraged to meet their victims – as part of its forthcoming green paper on criminal justice reform. Oliver Laughland brings together 34-year-old Reggie Aitchison, a prolific offender and drug user from Widnes, Cheshire, and 72-year-old grandmother, Kathleen, whose house he burgled, to discuss their experience of going through the restorative justice process and their reflections on the crime.
Good
I commend you for apologyzing. Keep focused on your new goals and try to become a good example for kids like you. May God bless [...]
I am sorry for breaking into your house
From the Letters to the Editor of the Wausau Daily Herald: Editor's note: This letter was written as part of the Marathon County Restorative Justice Program, which connects juvenile and young adult offenders with crime victims. Victims work with the offender to resolve the issue and determine restitution. Though this letter is published here anonymously, the identities of both J and Mr. M. were verified by Carrie Vergin, executive director of the Restorative Justice Program.
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)
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.
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.
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, www.ncjrs.org.
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.
Arnott, John and Nation, David. House Burglars and Victims
After local research had shown that house burglary attracted the highest rate of custodial sentences, Plymouth probation officers David Nation and John Arnott developed a group programme designed to offer a credible non-custodial option and to change offending behaviour through encounters with victims and prisoners, plus reparation and crime prevention tasks. They evaluate their first four completed programmes.
Anonymous. Face to Face
This article tells a story of a burglary and the positive impact that a community-based restorative justice process had for the victim’s family. The mother of the family explained her feelings and forgave the young offender, who then apologized and began to work on repayment.
Johnson, R. Police v Kapa (unreported) CRN 0090007932
This document presents the sentencing notes of Judge R. J. Johnson of the District Court of Waitakere in the matter of the Police v Caine John Kapa. The case involved offenses of aggravated burglary and aggravated assault. Subsequent to the arrest of Mr. Kapa and prior to sentencing in court, he entered a guilty plea and a restorative justice conference occurred. Participants in the conference included Mr. Kapa, the victims, a policeman, and other interested parties. In view of all the circumstances of the case, subsequent events, and the law, Judge Johnson imposed a prison sentence but suspended it.

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Restorative Justice Online - Featured Video

A long-time repeat offender describes the impact of meeting with his victims.