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Violent Crimes

Studies have shown that restorative justice processes may be more useful for victims and offenders after violent crimes than less serious ones. These articles and resources explore that counter-intuitive finding and other matters concerning restorative justice and victims and perpetrators of violent crime.

Julie and Anthony’s story
from the Restorative Justice Council's Restorative justice in youth offending teams information pack: After Anthony, 15, lost his temper during a game of football and assaulted another boy, he was offered the chance to take part in a restorative justice conference. Here, Anthony and his mum Julie explain how it helped them to move on from the incident and deal with his behaviour. Anthony: I was playing football and there was a lad there called Ben*. He had come out with me and my friends a few times before but I didn't really know him well. During the game I thought that Ben had kicked me but he hadn't really done anything. I got really angry. I just lost it for no reason whatsoever. After the game as he was walking off I chased after him and as he turned around I hit him in the face and cut his eye open. After that I just ran home....
Tania's story
from the article on Restorative Justice Council: When Tania* was robbed on a busy street, her confidence was destroyed. Here, she talks about why she decided to take part in a restorative justice conference with her mugger, and what it gave her back. “I was on my way to the local shops when I felt what I thought was someone bumping into me. It took me a few seconds to realise that someone had grabbed my handbag and I was dragged, screaming, along the pavement. I tried very hard to hold on to it but I couldn’t and the man took off up a side road. It was broad daylight and so there were quite a lot of people around. A lady who had seen everything contacted the police straight away and several people tried to follow the mugger....
Project offers 'new' justice for victims of serious crimes
from the article by Adam Knight in Hereford Times: A groundbreaking project that sits victims of crime down with offenders is set to be rolled out in Herefordshire. Restorative Justice is a concept that has seen real success elsewhere in the world, with 80 percent of offenders saying they would be less likely to reoffend following a session, according to Ministry of Justice figures. And West Mercia police are looking to offer it as an option for victims in Herefordshire, with extensive training set to go on across the country over the next 12 months....
Does ‘restorative justice’ in campus sexual assault cases make sense?
from the article by Meg Mott in the Washington Post: It makes sense that victim advocates put personal safety above all other considerations. They meet her when she is most distraught. But that particular emotional reality, while very big, is not necessarily permanent. In cases of acquaintance rape, the urge to be protected from the offender often competes with the equally strong urge to be heard.
Sexual Violence Research Initiative: Restorative justice
from the website: Across the world, only a tiny proportion of survivors/victims of sexual violence ever see their rapist punished. There is increasing awareness that the requirements of legal proceedings are often in conflict with the needs of sexual violence survivors/victims. Experiences of the adversarial court processes post-sexual violence are often traumatic, requiring the survivor/victim to confront their assailant, to defend their case and re-live the experience.
Meeting criminals helps the healing
From the article by Tess McClureon Stuff.co.nz: 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.
Ruth Krug: Courtroom can't be the only place to find justice
From the article by Ruth Krug on BattleCreekEnquirer.com: Geroge Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin has left many people frustrated and sad. But what seems to be lacking in the public discussion is hope for the future of this nation despite this tragedy. And what about asking the question: does justice truly begin and end in a courtroom?
George Zimmerman Acquitted: Can Restorative Justice Apply?
from the article by Lisa Rea on Restorative Justice International: For those who haven’t followed this trial, Trayvon Martin was a 17-year old black teenager shot by George Zimmerman, an armed neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida in 2012. Zimmerman was acquitted. It’s hard to consider that such a verdict is just given the victim, Trayvon Martin, was unarmed while Zimmerman was the one with the gun. Regardless of your views on whether the offender was “justified” in his killing Martin, let alone considering the impact of Florida’s “stand your ground” law, there is no peace from this verdict. As many have said, this verdict might be legal but it is not just. The offender killed; the victim died. The offender is released. Trayvon Martin can’t speak from the grave. The family members of the teenager are the victims left behind. Can restorative justice apply here and how? Is it available to them?
Restorative Justice 'can be justified' in serious cases
from the article by Jack Sommers in Police Oracle: Frontline officers have a judgement call to make when deciding whether victims of more serious offences would benefit from Restorative Justice (RJ) rather than a prosecution, a senior officer has said. ACC Garry Shewan, who leads on justice and community resolutions for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said there was not a “simple formula” and there was no prescribed list of offences for which Restorative Justice could be used.
Teenage rape prevention campaign launched
from the article on Pirate FM News: Pirate FM has learnt nine under eighteens have been convicted of sex offences on younger teenagers in Cornwall and Devon over the last year. But almost thirty were dealt with by restorative justice, where the victim and attacker work out a solution together.
'Why I must speak out to stop my rapist being freed'
from the article by David Barrett in the Telegraph: After Dr Claire Chung was raped by a stranger at knifepoint, she took two extraordinary and courageous steps. Firstly, she confronted him face to face after his conviction, as part of a programme known as “restorative justice”. Then she waived her anonymity, speaking of the decision she took to face the man who had attacked her. Now she is speaking out again, this time to voice her concerns at a parole system which could free Stephen Allen Gale early next year.
'Why I must speak out to stop my rapist being freed'
from the article by David Barrett in the Telegraph: After Dr Claire Chung was raped by a stranger at knifepoint, she took two extraordinary and courageous steps. Firstly, she confronted him face to face after his conviction, as part of a programme known as “restorative justice”. Then she waived her anonymity, speaking of the decision she took to face the man who had attacked her. Now she is speaking out again, this time to voice her concerns at a parole system which could free Stephen Allen Gale early next year.
'Why I must speak out to stop my rapist being freed'
from the article by David Barrett in the Telegraph: After Dr Claire Chung was raped by a stranger at knifepoint, she took two extraordinary and courageous steps. Firstly, she confronted him face to face after his conviction, as part of a programme known as “restorative justice”. Then she waived her anonymity, speaking of the decision she took to face the man who had attacked her. Now she is speaking out again, this time to voice her concerns at a parole system which could free Stephen Allen Gale early next year.
Rape
One personally perceived flaw with mandatory restorative justice is that not all offenders (especially rapists pertaining to the power/anger based motivations of rape) would be [...]
In sentencing criminals, is Norway too soft? Or are we too harsh?
from the article by Liliana Segura in The Nation: ....“Western Europeans regard 10 or 12 years as an extremely long term, even for offenders sentenced in theory to life,” he said. Today, there are more than 41,000 people serving life without parole in the United States compared to fifty-nine in Australia, forty-one in England and thirty-seven in the Netherlands. That’s according to a study released this spring, which found that we are “in the minority of countries using several sentencing practices, such as life without parole, consecutive sentences, juvenile life without parole, juvenile transfer to adult courts, and successive prosecution of the same defendant by the state and federal government.”
Atlantic Article
Mr Fisher's article is very interesting. However I believe this is an appropriate response to its shortfalls: http://www.thenation.com/bl[…]oo-soft-or-are-we-too-harsh
How we forgave my son's vicious killer: Parents whose teenage boy was beaten to death by thugs come face-to-face with offenders
from the article by Deborah Arthurs in the Daily Mail: In a meeting arranged by the Restorative Justice programme and mediators at the charity CALM (Confidential And Local Mediation), the couple met with two of the three perpetrators responsible for the crime when they came to the end of their sentences. And in a moment of heart-wrenching humanity that brings tears to the eyes, Ray says that when one of the offenders entered the room, all he wanted to do was hug him.
A different justice: Why Anders Breivik only got 21 years for killing 77 people
from the article by Max Fisher on The Atlantic: Although Breivik will likely be in prison permanently -- his sentence can be extended -- 21 years really is the norm even for very violent crimes. The much-studied Norwegian system is built on something called restorative justice. Proponents of this system might argue that it emphasizes healing: for the victims, for the society, and, yes, for the criminal him or herself.
Colorado Victim chooses restorative justice and meets with offender
by Lisa Rea This is an excellent article, well written with the right emphasis and explanation of restorative justice, telling the story of Sharletta Evans. She chose to meet the man who killed her young son. This was made possible after the passage of legislation carried by Representative Pete Lee.
Restorative justice for veterans: The San Francisco Sheriff 's Department's Community of Veterans Engaged in Restoration (COVER)
from the article by Sunny Schwartz and Leslie Levitas: ....Veterans represent a rapidly growing segment of the jail population whose characteristics mirror those of the general jail population and include histories of substance abuse, inconsistent work histories and challenges related to maintaining family relationships. Like most prisoners, they receive few services while incarcerated to address the myriad of health, mental health, and psychosocial issues that contribute to their incarceration and pose challenges upon release. The military discharge status of most justice-involved vets—less than honorable—makes them ineligible for many of the benefits and services offered by the Veterans Administration (VA).

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Restorative Justice Online - Featured Video

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