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Restorative Justice and Apology

Articles and other resources on the nature and meaning of apology in restorative justice.

Where are the personal apologies for the Freedom Riders?
from Kung Li's entry on Facing South: There has been only a single personal apology for the events that happened 50 years ago. Elwin Wilson, a former member of the KKK, drew the first blood of the Freedom Ride when he attacked John Lewis as he stepped into the bus station in Rock Hill, S.C. He traveled to Washington, D.C. in 2009 to find John Lewis -- now Congressman Lewis -- and to tell him he was sorry. Congressman Lewis described the meeting to Oprah like this: "He said, 'I attacked you, and I'm sorry. I want to apologize. Will you accept my apology?' And I said, 'Yes.' And he gave me a hug, and he started crying. I hugged him back, and I shed some tears also." "He's the first and only person who has ever apologized to me."
Restorative Justice Centre helps change Roman Dutch law:
from the RJC's website: ....The Restorative Justice Centre entered as amicus curiae in Le Roux v Dey, represented by the Centre for Child Law. Their submissions argued the common law should be developed to include a procedural step requiring reasonable engagement before court proceedings can be lodged. This way attempts to apologise must be the first resort, that failing, court proceedings may then be implemented. This is particularly important in cases involving children, as they are still developing and will naturally make mistakes as they grow and develop. The submissions were largely successful.
I never thought a raped victim would do this
I have seen how restorative justice works for in juvenile offences or other crimes. But this is the first time i read a raped victim [...]
why victims support restorative justice
Thank you for posting this article. I think one of the most powerful arguments for restorative justice is when we listen to victims about the [...]
'Why I confronted the man who raped me’
from David Barrett's article in The Sunday Telegraph: Dr Claire Chung, who has agreed to waive her anonymity in The Sunday Telegraph, was raped twice in the stinking stairwell of a multi-storey car park, and the crime caused her life to collapse “like a pack of cards”. Dr Chung, a highly regarded GP with more than 20 years’ medical experience, lost her job, her marriage and her home after being raped by Stephen Allen Gale, who had been released from prison for another sexual offence just one day earlier. But following the attack, which she described in chilling detail, Dr Chung negotiated with the authorities to allow a meeting with Gale in prison. The meeting was organised as part of a “restorative justice” scheme, which brings criminals face to face with their victims.
Seeking ‘peace on this earth’: Detailing the need for Alabama to offer a formal state apology
from Ben Greenberg's article in The Anniston Star: Two local governments in southeast Alabama are expected to issue an apology for a 1944 rape of a black woman by several white men, none of whom were ever prosecuted. ....Asked if the apology would also be on behalf of the state, Grimsley said, “We haven’t addressed that level yet.” ....“Clearly there should be an apology from the state here as well as the county,” said Professor Margaret Burnham, director of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Program at Northeastern University School of Law. “Each failed to pursue the investigation aggressively and promptly, and more generally afforded utter impunity to white men who raped black women. Such a statement would not only honor Recy Taylor and her family for their courage and tenacity in seeking justice, but it would speak to scores of victims who similarly suffered in silence.”
I commend you for apologyzing. Keep focused on your new goals and try to become a good example for kids like you. May God bless [...]
I am sorry for breaking into your house
From the Letters to the Editor of the Wausau Daily Herald: Editor's note: This letter was written as part of the Marathon County Restorative Justice Program, which connects juvenile and young adult offenders with crime victims. Victims work with the offender to resolve the issue and determine restitution. Though this letter is published here anonymously, the identities of both J and Mr. M. were verified by Carrie Vergin, executive director of the Restorative Justice Program.
Aba,      Thanks for sharing your story with me. I pray that everyone learns to forgive ultimately because Jesus commands it, but also it is quite [...]
Restorative Justice
Thank you for sharing your story. It is wonderful to hear how forgiveness has brought you peace and hope for the future. Dan Van Ness [...]
Restorative Justice
Thank you for this posting. I am just thrilled that Debbie found the Healing Power of Forgiveness. I also was able to find healing from [...]
rape victim & death row inmate
Thank you for printing this interview. It is probably very hard for some to read this interview because of the violent acts committed by the [...]
Interview with Debbie, a rape victim of Robert Power
from the interview by Ines Aubert: Ines Aubert was a pen pal of Robert Powers who had been sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl. She discovered over time that Robert had changed profoundly and that he wanted, among other things, to extend an apology to any of his victims who wished to receive that. This took on some urgency at the end of 2010 as Robert neared the end of his life (he died of cancer on December 3). Ines contacted RJOnline Correspondent Lisa Rea for assistance, but they were unable to find a way to reach out to Robert's victims. Lisa wrote about this in an earlier blog entry on RJOB. Commenting on an article about Robert's death in a Florida newspaper, Ines wrote that he had wanted to apologize before his death but had been unable. Another reader -- one of Robert's victims -- replied to Ines that she had forgiven Robert. The two were able to connect, and Ines recently interviewed Debbie about her experience as a victim and the reasons for her forgiveness. The following is a short excerpt of an answer Debbie gave to Ines' question about how she felt when she learned that Robert had a pen pal.
Apologies help heal
from an editorial in the Abbotsford-Mission Times: Last week, we wrote of the bravery of the 16-year-old girl who was the victim of an apparent gang rape at a rave in Pitt Meadows last September. The young woman has issued a statement thanking both those who supported her and those who spread lies and bullied her in the wake of the incident. Both, she said, had made her a stronger person. The victim was forced to leave school after images and rumours about the attack began circulating. She is now taking most of her classes online.
Apology letter
Hi, Tanesha, Check out the website for tips on writing the apology letter. Regards, Lynette
Apology Letter
i need to do a apology letter for someone
Michael Vick, Bill Simmons, forgiveness and restorative justice
from Eliyahu Fink's post on Pacific Jewish Center: Bill Simmons (aka The Sports Guy) wrote a recent [] column about Michael Vick and his comeback. ....Simmons writes that Vick emerged as the “feel good story” of the NFL. But his wife disagrees. The Sports Gal cannot forgive Vick. The Sports Gal says that if you love dogs, you cannot possibly forgive Vick. Sport Guy retorts that Vick did everything humanly possibly to pay for his crimes, apologize and rehabilitate his life. He lost EVERYTHING. He said he was genuinely sorry. He is fixing what he broke. Vick is a real Restorative Justice story. And Bill Simmons forgives him. Mrs. Simmons loves dogs too much to forgive Vick. The article is a great read and I recommend reading it.
Not Just an Apology: Basic Wisdom
Thank you Martin Wright. Holding the space for these difficult discussions takes a tremendous amount of good sense and courage. It seems to me that [...]
Restorative justice is not just saying 'Sorry'
Martin Wright's letter to the editor that didn't get published: Mark Johnson’s critique gives a chance to correct some common misconceptions about restorative justice (‘Apologising to victims will not reduce reoffending rates’, SocietyGuardian, 18 August). It is not about dragging offenders to see their victims, telling them to say “sorry”, nor making them do menial tasks wearing conspicuous clothing. It does not humiliate offenders (provided it is done properly, of course); they are enabled to show that they can do something useful and be valued for it. It lets victims explain, and offenders understand, the damaging effects of their actions (and in some cases, such as fights, both have been at fault in some ways). Both are asked questions like ‘What happened?’ ‘Who was affected?’ ‘What do you think and feel about it?’ and ‘What needs to be done to make things better?’ Victims often ask for an apology and/or reparation, but what most of them want is answers to questions and action to make a repeat less likely. This could mean that the offender makes reparation by co-operating with whatever support he or she needs, programmes such as anger management, drug treatment or vocational skills.
crime victims who speak out
No matter what anyone thinks of the views shared by Linda White in this post her experience cannot be discounted. Sharing these views, which as [...]

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