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Victim-Offender Dialogue

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

Young in prison
Gary, thanks for your kind words about the article and the work of PFI. I agree with your statements on the need to remember that [...]
APAC
Thank you for this Lynn. It is a sad commentary to assume there is no hope for people, especially youth. And thank you for writing [...]
restorative Justice
A clear reasoned statement. It may be time to spell out the principles and to tell the stories of the various forms of restorative approaches [...]
Prisons - rehabilitation - justice
Lynn is both articulate and accurate and I have nothing to add to her comments - I have the honor of knowing the PFI programs [...]
Prisons, rehabilitation and justice
by Lynette Parker Recently, I read an article about the struggles faced by the state of Florida after the US Supreme Court banned sentences of life without parole for juveniles who do not kill anyone. In the discussion over the need to revisit cases and re-sentence the offenders, one retired judge was quoted: “There are no resources in prisons for rehabilitation,'' the former judge said. ``You give him 30 years, and he'll get out when he's 45, what's he going to do? Re-offend. Some people, regardless of their age, need to be put away forever.”
Criminals could cut sentences by saying ‘sorry’
from the article by Anushka Asthana and Jamie Doward in The Observer: Tens of thousands of offenders may be able to reduce their sentences by making personal apologies to their victims, under plans for a “rehabilitation revolution” in the criminal justice system. Crispin Blunt, the prisons minister, is considering the move as part of a drive to offer victims the chance to come face-to-face with the person who committed the crime against them. A report released today by two charities, Victim Support and the Restorative Justice Consortium, suggests the policy could save £185m in two years by cutting reoffending.
Healing in a hard place
from the article by Naseem Rakha in the Sunday Oregonian: How do people heal from violent crime? How do they mend after a rape or assault, or after losing a loved one to murder? How do they get over the grief, anger and gnawing sense that no matter what happens, justice will never be served? For Patricia Dahlgren, whose mother, June Duncan, was abducted and strangled in December 1995, the answer came from an unusual source: the man who killed her mother.
Victim-offender meetings in prison
Good that it has to be done through a Victim/Witness Assistance Program - but are such programs restoratively minded, or do they think they are [...]
victims having the option to meet their offenders
Jack, I think this is new and fertile ground. I would be very surprised if there are any regulations regarding visits between victims and offenders [...]
Victims' right to visit inmates
Maybe we should have a law like this in the UK - with death row replaced by life imprisonment, of course. But I would insert [...]
Victim-Offender Meetings
This is a very positive step for Virginia. It will be of interest to see how this law is implemented by the Department of Corrections [...]
Va. OKs bill to let violent crime victims meet with death row inmates
from the Associated Press article in The Washington Post: Lorraine Whoberry tried for years to meet face-to-face with her daughter's killer before he was executed last month. She was repeatedly denied. So the day after she witnessed his execution, Whoberry sat down with Gov. Bob McDonnell and asked for his help. A bill was making its way through the Virginia General Assembly that would allow victims of violent crime to meet with the perpetrators, but it excluded those on death row and juveniles. McDonnell amended the bill to allow victims to meet with inmates on death row. On Wednesday, the General Assembly unanimously approved the change. Although more than half of the states have victim-offender mediation programs, advocates said Virginia would be one of the first to cement it in state law. Virginia also becomes one of only a handful that allow meetings with death row inmates. “Even though it's not going to affect us, at least we've got something done,” Whoberry said when told about the change.
Parole denied for repeat drink-driver who killed woman
from Radio New Zealand News: The Parole Board is encouraging the family of a woman killed by a repeat drink-driver to consider a restorative justice meeting with him. Jonathan Barclay is serving a prison term of five years and six months for the manslaughter of 20-year-old Debbie Ashton, whom he killed in a head-on car crash near Nelson.
What is justice? State program brings victims and offenders face to face
Martha Early, a middle-aged single mother, and Andrew Papke, the chaplain's assistant, sit silently across from each other in the chapel, their hands clasped tightly across a wooden table. To Early's right sits a stack of pictures of her daughter Beth, killed -- along with her boyfriend, Daniel London -- by a teenage drunken driver in 1996. In front of her sits a well-worn binder bursting with colorful stationery and letters full of memories of Beth; she brought them to share with Andrew. Next to the binder is her Bible. Early gazes at Papke with a look of calm sadness, while Papke's head hangs solemnly. Seconds turn into minutes, and neither one moves. It seems as if the slightest murmur would send them back to earth, where they will be forced to communicate with words. Finally, Early squeezes Papke's hand. "I love you, Andrew," she whispers. "I love you, too," he answers hoarsely. Within moments, Papke's arms -- the very same arms that steered a car headlong into Beth Early -- are encircling her mother. After engaging in a brief hug, Martha Early gets ready to begin her three-hour drive back to Austin. Andrew returns to his prison cell at the Walls Unit in Huntsville, where he is serving 40 years for intoxication manslaughter.
closure' myth
i cant imagine face the person who abuse you and asking him why i might do something very bad like murder if that happen to [...]
John Muhammad
Closure! Wished I knew what it was. I don’t believe that the victim of at least violent crime has closure, or gets over it. After [...]
Muhammad and the 'closure' myth
from Naseem Rakha's column in the Washington Post: ....In the past decade, 24 U.S. prisons have begun victim-offender dialogue programs. These programs give victims' survivors opportunities to meet with, talk to and ask questions of the offenders, often questions only the offender can answer. According to John Wilson, director of Just Alternatives, a group that trains prison personnel in the dialogue program, this victim-led initiative has brought a sense of power and renewal to the lives of survivors. "Survivors can go through years of therapy, but until they have the opportunity to talk with their offenders, their healing often feels unfinished," he said.
Grieving mum’s prison visit inspired by daughter’s kindness
from Jon Livesey's article in the Lancashire Telegraph: A heartbroken mother drew on the memory of her daughter killed in a car crash to find the courage to meet the burglar who broke into her home. Margaret Foxley told the burglar the laptop he stole contained treasured photographs of her daughter Jessica, who died in a car crash with two friends in Colne six months later. It was the first time in Lancashire that a victim had gone into prison to meet the person who committed a crime against them as part of the ‘restorative justice’ programme.
evidence-based research and RJ
This is very excitng news. We need good solid evidence-based research to support what we already know: restorative justice works with all offenders regardless of [...]
Three-year research project on mediation and restorative justice in prison settings
from the flyer announcing the project: The Mediation and Restorative Justice in Prison Settings Project is a three year international exchange project funded by the European Commission, between the counties of Germany, Hungary and the UK. The project will identify, exchange and develop best practice for the use of restorative justice (“RJ”) with the most serious crimes, particularly those against persons and property attracting a custodial sentence. Research suggests that RJ can have the biggest impact on the lives of victims and offenders where such serious crimeshave been committed.

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