Offenders need to hear from crime victims. Victims need to hear from offenders.
I am including the following article I wrote for PFI’s rjonline.org a few years ago. It talks about my experience speaking at a California prison with crime victim/survivor Cheryl Ward-Kaiser. It’s a snap shot of one day I spent in prison talking to groups of inmates about restorative justice–victims-driven restorative justice. Are we ready to guide offenders toward taking responsibility for their actions after they commit crimes? If an offender wants to make an apology to a victim can he? Is he ready to? If a crime victim wants to explore restorative justice and potentially seeks to meet his offender to participate in a dialogue could it happen? As we know, it depends. Restorative justice is much more evident today in 2012 than it was 10-20 years ago.
But change is occuring—finally. After 20 years of working in this field I am seeing it. What do you think? RJI supports restorative justice on the cutting edge. More victims seek healing and restoration as much as possible. Offenders need ways of taking responsibility for their actions. Do they get that in a prison cell as they serve time?
If you are looking at your justice system and deciding how to make changes to allow restorative justice principles to prevail contact us at RJI.