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Sharletta Evans: Colorado victim of violent crime chooses restorative justice

Read the story of Sharletta Evans and her eldest son, Calvin Hurd.  They chose to meet one juvenile responsible for the drive-by killing of 3-year old Casson, Sharletta’s son and brother of Calvin. Both chose to participate in a victim offender dialogue in a Colorado prison where Raymond Johnson is serving a life without parole sentence.
There was a time when some observers thought that there were only a handful of crime victims in the U.S. who supported  restorative justice. In my own work over 23 years, I have seen that number increase dramatically. Sharletta’s passionate support for restorative justice, and particularly victim offender dialogue, is changing how we look at the justice system in the U.S. and globally. Crime victims are asking for systemic change of the justice system based on restorative justice. Are we listening?
As you read this story from the Denver Post consider that Sharletta chose to forgive Raymond Johnson. Her son Calvin came to a place of compassion, according to Sharletta. Calvin was satisfied with the meeting that occurred in prison because the offender, he felt, took responsibility for his actions. Restorative justice does not promise forgiveness nor does it require it. But the fruit that comes through restorative justice changes lives for the better for the crime victim and offender. With these changes communities are safer.
This is Lisa Rea for Restorative Justice International.