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Hate Crime

Hate crimes are directed at victims because of their affiliation with a group against which the offenders have chosen to take action. Not only do victims suffer from direct injuries, they must also come to terms with the deep malice and bias that motivated the crime. These articles address restorative responses.

Shenk, Alyssa. Victim-Offender Mediation: The Road to Repairing Hate Crime Injustice
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Shenk, Alyssa. Victim-Offender Mediation: The Road to Repairing Hate Crime Injustice.
Shenk begins this essay with the observation that historically the American criminal justice system – retributive in character, and focused on crime as a violation of law – has ignored the needs of the victim of crime and failed to restore the victim’s losses. In recent years there has been a trend to bring the needs of the victim to the forefront of the justice system. This, Shenk remarks, is symbolic of a shift toward restorative justice with the focus on the needs of victims. Victim-offender mediation has emerged as the best-known and effective means of practicing restorative justice, yet it has largely been limited to property crimes and minor assaults. Recently, there has been some development to employ victim-offender mediation to more severe, violent crimes. With all of this in view, Shenk contends for the expansion of restorative justice, and specifically the use of victim-offender mediation, to address hate crimes.
Growing past hate: 'Restorative justice' helps heal pain from teens' vandalism
from the article by Fred Van Liew in the DesMoines Register: In March of 1994 members of the Temple B’nai Jeshurun in Des Moines awoke to find neo-Nazi graffiti scrawled on the side of their synagogue. There were no immediate suspects, but there was anguish, anger and outrage.
Coates, Robert B. and Umbreit, Mark S. and Vos, Betty. Responding to Hate Crimes Through Restorative Justice Dialogue.
Hate promotes violence. Dialogue among conflicting parties and groups is one way to decrease hate and help prevent bias-motivated crimes. Restorative justice has emerged in the last three decades as a means of giving all who are stakeholders in a crime – victims, offenders, and the community to which they belong – a voice in how harm can be repaired and future harm prevented. The present article reports on a two-year study of seven communities that utilized elements of a restorative justice dialogue approach as one component of responding to bias-motivated crimes and hate-charged situations. Following presentation of three case studies, the article highlights the invitational nature of such dialogue, the preparation of participants, and the dialogue process. It also examines factors that influence the dialogue, including the intense impact of hate crimes, the role of the media, and the involvement of outside interest groups. Finally, it explores ways to sustain the dialogue after the crisis recedes. (authors’ abstract)
Strobl, Staci and Volpe, Maria R.. Restorative justice responses to post-September 11 hate crimes: Potential and challenges.
This article focuses on the extent to which victim-offender mediation was utilized by restorative justice practitioners in response to anti-Arab and anti-Muslim harassment and other September 11-related hate crimes. Specific attention was given to the disparity between the advocacy for victim-offender mediation in these incidents and its actual use, and the lessons to be learned from restorative justice efforts after September 11. (author's abstract)
Correctional Service of Canada. Youth Restorative Action Project (YRAP), Edmonton, Alberta
The Youth Restorative Action Project (YRAP) of Edmonton, Alberta, is a justice committee focusing on addressing problems from hate crimes, as well as crimes connected with child prostitution, mental illness, and substance abuse. YRAP was inspired by teenager Jasmina Sumanac. Moving to Canada from Serbia, she was struck by the need to combat hate, racism, and other issues not only in Serbia but also in Canada. Collaborating with her Youth Worker, Mark Cherrington, she and Mark initiated YRAP. As described in this resource paper, YRAP receives referrals from youth courts. Members of YARP meet in a restorative conference with all stakeholders in the problem to deal with the offense and its consequences. YRAP has gained significant recognition, and it is now beginning to expand to Toronto and other areas.
Wessler, Stephen L. Hate Crimes and Bias-Motivated Harassment on Campus
A number of states and the federal government in the United States have adopted hate crime statutes in the last decade or so. While there are various ways of stipulating what constitutes a hate crime in the statutes, notes Stephen Wessler, in general a hate crime can be defined as a criminal offense against a person or property where the offender is motivated by bias against another person’s race, religion, ethnic origin, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation. Institutions of higher education are not immune from the commission of hate crimes. In this chapter Wessler examines hate crimes in college and university settings. He examines types of hate crimes and their pervasiveness on campuses, bias-motivated harassment, and the impact of hate crimes and incidents of bias. This leads to his identification of effective responses to and prevention of such problems, with respect to both offenders and victims.
Gavrielides, Theo. Restoring relationships: Hate crimes and restorative justice.
This article has been split into five parts. First, it will attempt to deconstruct hate crime to understand its causes and effect, as well as the definitional issues surrounding it. Second, it will identify gaps of the extant literature on hate crime and proceed with recommendations for further work that needs to be done in the area. Third, it will aim to understand why RJ practices with hate crime have not been favoured by legislators and policymakers despite the theoretical proclamations and research evidence that are backing them up. Fourth, the article will provide a list of international case studies where RJ practices have been used to address hate crime successfully. This analysis will provide the basis for the last part of the article which will posit some recommendations as to how the alleged gap can be bridged and how criminal justice agencies can be supported to work collaboratively with community-based programmes and practices to combat hate crime offences. (excerpt)
Swain, Jennifer E and McConnell, Stephen C. Victim-Offender Mediation with Adolescents Who Commit Hate Crimes
In recent years, the number of reported hate crimes has continued to rise steadily. The majority of these offenses is motivated by racial prejudice and is typically committed by a small, loosely associated group of adolescent offenders. Hate crimes represent offenses that exert a uniquely detrimental impact on the individual victim, members of the targeted group and larger society. In addition to the physical and material losses that may occur as the result of a hate crime, these offenses are often psychologically devastating, terrorizing individuals and communities while simultaneously tearing at the foundation of intergroup relationships. In order to address this issue, new approaches to responding to hate crime have been developed, including penalty-enhancement strategies and educational programming for perpetrators. However, the efficacy of the proposed approaches in modifying the attitudes and behaviors of perpetrators is questionable. Of equal importance, many of these programs do little or nothing to address the needs of victims. In this paper, victim-offender mediation is explored as a strategy for intervening with adolescent offenders who commit racially motivated hate crimes and the victims of these offenses. It is hypothesized that in comparison to the current responses to hate crimes, this approach will offer greater benefits for victims, offenders, and larger society, both in the short and long term. (author's abstract).

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