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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.

Gustafson, Dave. "Facilitating communication between victims and offenders in cases of serious and violent crime."
In Canada victim-offender reconciliation programs have achieved notable outcomes with less violent crimes. In 1989 a research project in British Columbia investigated a proposed model to apply such programs to violent crimes. In this article Gustafson reports on the findings of that research, which included information from both offenders and victims. Following the research, a pilot victim-offender mediation project was launched to address even the most violent crimes. Gustafson describes the program and its results.
Weitekamp, Elmar G. M. Calculating the damage to be restored: Lessons from the national survey of crime severity
Weitekamp surveys key points in the history of compensation in response to offenses: its prevalence in earlier societies; its eclipse in the modern era; the emergence of restorative justice in the 1970s and efforts to reintroduce restitution, victim-offender reconciliation and other restorative programs; difficulties and shortcomings in the implementation of such programs; and yet attempts to apply such programs to more problematic criminal offenses. Serious objections have been raised against this potential extension of restorative justice programs. One key argument is the difficulty in reckoning the amount of damage and consequently the amount of compensation with respect to serious, violent offenses. Therefore, the viability of applying restorative justice programs to serious, violent offenses is a crucial issue. Yet crime severity studies have not been discussed in this context. Hence, Weitekamp provides a detailed discussion of the development and results of crime severity studies, with particular reference to the Sellin-Wolfgang Index for scaling the severity of offenses. From this Weitekamp advances the idea that the National Survey of Crime Severity (United States) resulted in monetary rankings of the severity of crimes, and that these results could be used to establish restorative programs (such as restitution, and victim-offender mediation) for violent crimes.
Umbreit, Mark S. "Violent Offenders and Their Victims."
This essay considers the idea of applying victim/offender mediation techniques in cases of certain violent crimes against persons. It is suggested this requires a thorough assessment of the initial victim/offender reconciliation model and the identification of elements of that model which may require significant modification. As the case-studies reported in this chapter indicate, some of the most fundamental goals of the VORP model appear to be even more relevant when applied in some cases involving violent victim/offender conflict. After reviewing the current VORP model, five cases in which the victim/offender mediation process was used with very violent offenses are presented. Finally, specific and preliminary implications for modification of the initial process is identified.
William Bradshaw and Umbreit, Mark S and Coates, Robert B. "Victim sensitive offender dialogue in crimes of severe violence: Differing needs, approaches, and implications."
In this monograph the authors focus on the pursuit of restorative justice through victim offender dialogue. In particular they address issues regarding the application of restorative principles and processes (such as victim offender mediation) to cases involving severe violence. Differing approaches to victim sensitive offender dialogue are categorized and analyzed. Of three types, the authors concentrate on elaborating a type they designate as "humanistic mediation," which they characterize as "dialogue-driven." Through statistics, anecdotes, and case studies, they argue for the effectiveness of victim sensitive offender dialogue in cases of severe violence, even while they point to many unanswered questions in this area.
Minow, Martha. Between vengeance and forgiveness: Feminist responses to violent injustice.
In the face of violent crime and injustice and hard questions about how to respond to such, Minow asks whether there is or should be a particular feminist perspective on these issues. On the one side are responses based on legal forms, particularly of an adversarial and a punitive character. On the other side are calls for alternative responses, often called restorative justice. Where do feminists stand in these tensions? To explore the issues, Minow discusses the following: punishment versus reconciliation; and the perspectives of feminists on both sides of the controversy. She relates two specific examples that illustrate the tensions, and she concludes her paper with suggestions to guide the choice between prosecutorial and reparative approaches to violent injustice.
. Tempering idealism with realism: Using restorative justice processes to promote acceptance of responsibility cases of intimate partner violence.
This Article evaluates the potential use of "responsibility initiatives" in gender-based violence, with a specific focus on adult intimate partner violence. This Article analyzes the law's role in furthering victims' recovery from the trauma caused by gender-based violence through promoting acceptance of responsibility by offenders.' Perpetrators of abuse often minimize or outright deny their abuse when asked about it by family, friends, and even their victims. In cases of acquaintance sexual assault, this denial is often firmly rooted in offenders' cognitive distortion, which leads them to believe their victim in fact consented. The denial of the victim's experience of the assault as clearly unwanted causes unique and devastating trauma to victims, and yet the core of our criminal justice response to sex offenses facilitates this denial rather than acceptance of responsibility by offenders. In cases of partner violence, the underlying psychology is more simple and yet also more complex than in cases of acquaintance sexual assault. Nonetheless, this process of unmaking the past is central to the dynamics of many violent intimate relationships: it insulates the batterer's conduct from outside criticism and intervention, creates a liar out of the victim, and ultimately can work its magic on the victim's own memory of past abuse. (excerpt)
Hayashi, Leslie and Walker, Lorenn. Pono Kaulike: Reducing Violence with Restorative Justice and Solution-Focused Approaches.
As the Pono Kaulike pilot program developed, it became apparent that there was a need for other restorative interventions that did not require face-to-face meetings between all of the involved parties. It was additionally discovered that the facilitators could apply solution-focused brief therapy language skills with better outcomes for participants. As a result, Pono Kaulike developed three distinct facilitated restorative justice processes using the solution-focused brief therapy approach, which has been used successfully with incarcerated people (Walker, 2008). Restorative conferences are for victims, offenders and their respective supporters; restorative dialogues are for victims and offenders together without supporters; and restorative sessions are for individual victims and offenders who meet separately and are encouraged to bring supporters, but are not required to do so. The key goals of Pono Kaulike’s three processes are to help people hurt by crime to heal and to decrease repeat criminal activity. Restorative justice assumes that most people who have hurt others and who have been hurt have the capacity to address what they and what others may need to heal (Zehr, 1995). Research shows that restorative processes increase participant satisfaction and rehabilitation more than prison and punishment for many types of crimes (Sherman & Strang, 2007; Shapland et al, 2008). By giving people a voice and the opportunity to consider what they and others need to deal with the consequences of crime, they are given the opportunity to learn and to improve their lives (Walker, 2000). (excerpt)
Daly, Kathleen. What Does a Modernised Justice System Mean to Women
The author asks the question "is there a place for restorative justice as an appropriate or additional pathway for violent crimes against women and children?" and she answers it with a qualified yes. She goes on to explain in brief what restorative justice is, particularly as it relates to mediation in violent crimes. She then summarizes the debate about the potential benefits and hazards of mediation in cases of violent crime.
Dozier, Marian. Response to Violent Prone Female Adolescents: The Chicago Public School Approach.
School violence has become increasingly more prevalent among adolescent females over the last ten years. As administrators, teachers, parents, and law enforcement officials try to control and decrease the number of violent incidents that occur in our schools, adolescent females continue to exhibit inappropriate and violent behavior at an alarming rate within our school communities. Adolescent females who behave badly have historically been overlooked or ignored, as girls have often been perceived as being incapable of demonstrating hostile conduct in an academic setting.The purpose of this study was to investigate, describe, and analyze the frequency and nature of violent incidents committed by adolescent females in the Chicago Public Schools during a four year period. The findings from this study will seek to establish the severity of the problem, offer insight into possible solutions, and provide relevance for future studies. This study utilized a descriptive quantitative approach to analyzing archival data that highlighted adolescent females that committed serious Group 5 and Group 6 misconduct violations as outlined in the Chicago Public Schools student code of conduct handbook. A comparison throughout the data was conducted based upon factors such as race, age, socio-economic status, location, and disability. (Excerpt).
Westmarland, Nicole and Kelly, Liz and Horvath, Miranda and Brown, Jennifer. Connections and disconnections: Assessing evidence, knowledge and practices in response to rape.
This document summarises a much longer report structured in terms of the specific questions the review was asked to address and assessing the strength of evidence currently available. Here the findings are presented through a set of key themes: • what we know about the prevalence and distribution of rape; • reporting and disclosure; • support and advocacy; • the response of the criminal justice system; • the response of the health system; • attitudes to and stereotypes of rape; and • the impact of recent policy changes. We conclude with some possible future directions which flow from this evidence base.The findings are located within a summary of the current policy context and the methodological approach used to access the material used. (excerpt). Restorative justice is included as an alternative response.
Talbot, Mary E. . Public Responsiveness to Victim's Recommendations in their Sentencing Decisions: Role of Victim's Race, Victim Impact Statement and Judge's Instruction.
This research proposal is aimed at understanding the gap in justice between Caucasian victims and African American victims. The literature on Victim Impact Statements (VIS) provided in the penalty/sentencing phases in trials may provide some solutions to level the playing field. VIS serves as a voice for the victims or crime, and helps the jurors to see the victim as human being rather than a faceless victim. Studies have shown that the greater harm caused is related to greater blameworthiness of defendant (Feigenson, Park, & Salovey, 1997). Moreover, this research assesses whether the public supports restorative sentencing options for convicted offenders of burglary and aggravated battery, and whether this support generalizes to offenders who victimize African-American as well as Caucasian individuals. (Excerpt).

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