Source: (1998) Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution. 1(2).

In our society’s justice system, justice equals punishment. Because our society defines justice in this manner, the victims of crimes often seek the most severe possible punishment for their offenders. However, punishment does not address the other important needs of victims such as restoring their losses, answering their questions, relieving their fears, helping them make sense of their tragedy or healing their wound. Regardless of their particular point-of-views, most people agree that our criminal justice system is broken and we don’t know how to fix it. Victim offender mediation, with its focus on restorative justice, cannot provide all the answers to our crime problem, but it is an essential part of the solution. A approach concerned with righting the wrongs to victims and making amends, repairing the harm done (whatever ways possible, including victim compensation) and restoring the lives affected by crime, offers us a much more hopeful vision for the future.

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