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Victim-Offender Dialogue

Articles on meetings of prisoners with their actual victims while they are in prison.

Why can't I tell my brutal attacker that I forgive?
from the article in the Nottingham Post ....Mr Ali, who lives in the Arboretum area of Nottingham, was left unconscious on the floor of St Peter's Gate after he was knocked out with one punch on at around 4.45pm on July 24, 2008. The 48-year-old was then stamped on and kicked in his head as shoppers and passersby looked on. When he arrived at hospital, fluid from his brain was leaking out of his nose. Jackson, then 27 and of Eddleston Drive, Clifton, was jailed for a minimum of five years after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent, part way through a retrial at Nottingham Crown Court in July 2009.
serious crimes & victims rights
Thank you for posting this importnat opinion piece. Through the words of victims (survivors) of violent crime we learn how valuable restorative justice is to [...]
Restorative justice in a case of serious sexual assault
from the article by Claire Chung for Restorative Justice Week 2011: ....I was raped twice, at knifepoint, by a man who had been released from prison, just 24 hours earlier. I was his 27th victim. I reported the crime immediately. He had walked off abruptly in the middle of the attack and I was sure of 2 things: he had done this before and he would do it again. I was believed and the rapist was caught, sentenced and returned to prison. Justice was done. Since the assailant pled “guilty” he was allowed a third off his tariff and the Judge, “to spare me any further distress”, proceeded quickly to his decision. Although I was in court, nobody looked at me and nobody heard me.
victims meeting juvenile offenders face-to-face
Thank you for posting this story from the UK showing that crime victims are increasing asking to meet their offenders in prison. In this case, [...]
Father of Adam Rogers meets son’s teenage killer in prison
from the story by Sam Chadderton in Lacashire Telegraph: Adam Rogers’s father and his teenage killer have come face to face in an ‘emotional’ prison meeting. .... Dave Rogers who has campaigned with wife Pat for an end to senseless violence in their 24-year-old son’s memory, said he would recommend the ‘restorative justice’ process to other grieving families.
I was pleasantly surprised to find my report referenced on this page. Thanks for putting it there. I'd be interested to hear how you heard [...]
Restorative justice and prisoner reintegration
from Joe Casey and Ben Jarman's report The Social Reintegration of Ex-Prisoners in Council of Europe Member States The offender had already been in prison for five years. He had been convicted of rape. He and the victim had known each other; they had grown up in the same neighbourhood, he had been friends with the victim’s brother, and the victim’s father had been his teacher at primary school. The case, with his agreement, was referred to mediators by the director of his prison rehabilitation programme. He felt ashamed, and felt he needed the victim to hear him admit the crime, since at trial he had denied his role in the crime, under the guidance of his lawyer, and had in fact blamed the offence on the victim.
Murderers turned peacemakers
from the article by Laurel Kaufer on Peace X Peace: How is it that women, with dark pasts, serving time for murder and manslaughter, could possibly become honored peacemakers? Their story is one of personal commitment to themselves and the community in which most are destined to live out their lives. “This is an environment filled with conflict and violence. There is a dire need and want for change,” says Susan Russo, one of the fifteen initial peacemakers, serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at the largest prison for women in the world, Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, CA. “Mediation interests all of us because we are lifers and long-termers hoping to make a difference in teaching our peers that there is a better way.” Beginning her quest in 2007, Sue Russo wrote over 50 handwritten letters from prison to mediators all over California. Her letters went unanswered until August of 2009 when one of her letters made it to me, Laurel Kaufer, Esq., a Southern California mediator and peacemaker and founder of the post-Katrina Mississippi Mediation Project.
After the crime: the power of restorative justice. Dialogues between victims and violent offenders
by Martin Wright Violence, rape, murder and other abusive crimes: not usually pleasant subjects to read about, yet Susan Miller's book left this reader with a positive feeling. This is largely due to Miller herself, who presents the information in a straightforward, sympathetic but non-judgemental way; to Kim Book, who started the organization Victims' Voices Heard after her daughter was murdered; and to the participants themselves. Not all victims felt able to forgive, and this should not be a criterion for 'success'; but they followed the Amish precept: don't balance hurt with hate. Not all offenders accepted full responsibility. Miller divides restorative justice into diversion, taking the place of the criminal justice process for relatively minor cases, and 'therapeutic' RJ, where the offender is already in custody or has served a prison term. These cases are all in the latter category.
Colorado mother wishes for meeting with son's killers
from Ivan Moreno's article in the San Francisco Chronicle: The 3-year-old boy affectionately known as "Biscuit" was sleeping in the back of a parked old Cadillac when the shooting began. Fourteen bullets hit the car in the drive-by shooting outside a northeast Denver duplex. Biscuit was shot in the head and died. His brother, Calvin, four days shy of his 7th birthday, and a teenage cousin were unhurt. Sharletta Evans — mother of Biscuit, or Casson Xavier Evans — came to forgive the gunmen, who were 15 and 16 years old at the time of the Dec. 21, 1995, shooting. But it took years for her to decide she wanted to meet them in prison, hoping for closure. A new Colorado law encourages the state Department of Corrections to facilitate such reconciliation meetings. Yet it's a process that requires they be safe and don't backfire on victims. And prison officials say there's simply no money to make it happen in the near future.
Dialogues can offer healing for crime victims
from Ryan Marshall's article in the Carroll County Times: Recovering from a crime can be a deeply personal process for victims, but Maryland's corrections system offers victims who are interested a chance to interact with their attackers. The state is able to arrange dialogues between victims and the person incarcerated for their crime.
Victims confront thief in jail
from the article in The Northern Echo: The meeting was arranged by police as part of a restorative justice project and Mrs Turnbull, 57, of Deneside, had second thoughts about going along. She said: “I had decided I was not going to go. I felt as if I could not face meeting him. “It was only because the police turned up on my doorstep to pick me up that I went along because I did not want to waste their time.” Mrs Turnbull spent 90 minutes with the offender in Durham Prison, where he is serving a five-year sentence.
Victim assistance
Lisa, The best link for APAC is Of course, if you read portuguese you can visit Don't underestimate the amount of victim involvement [...]
Brasilian prison project & restorative justice
Thank you, Lynette. Is there a direct link to APAC that you can provide? I am glad the project has some kind of victim assistance [...]
APAC link
Hi, Lorenn, I'm sorry that link didn't work. Try this one Lynette
APAC and Victims
Lisa, Thanks for your comments. APAC does not use Sycamore Tree Project. However, it has an office of victim assistance. So, on one hand they [...]
APAC prison & victims
Hello, Lynette. Thank you for your post about APAC in Brasil. I was drawn to the work being done in Brasil since I first I [...]
Thanks for this further information Lynn--it was amazing experiencing the APAC prisons...they are more like clean and sober group homes and communities than prisons. The [...]
APAC's sucess
Lorenn, Thanks for the comment. You are right about APAC's successes in helping the recuperandos change their lives and reintegrate into society. It's amazing just [...]
Principles and stories
Billy, thanks for your comments. I think you are right and there is a need to explain how approaching crime and wrong doing from a [...]

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