Source: (2006) Hastings Law Journal. 57:457.

One of the assumptions of the criminal justice system is that victims benefit in some way from the prosecution and punishment of the person who caused them harm. n8 While such legal redress may indeed benefit some crime victims, it provides none with a meaningful opportunity to heal. Contemporary approaches circumscribe victim participation in the prosecution of the victimizer to acting in the narrow role of a trial witness, and later, to delivering a victim impact statement at sentencing. n9 In this Article, I argue that victim healing involves more than punishing the offender, and that by rethinking the roles victims perform in the criminal justice system, we may provide them with a more comprehensive menu of options to facilitate their recovery from crime. The societal goals of punishment and accountability and the individual desire for healing are not mutually exclusive. Rather, I contend that incorporating recovery approaches from both the science of victimology and theories of restoration in the justice process allows a more encompassing perspective that has the potential to both reduce the propensity of victims to become victimizers themselves and interrupt the transmission of victimization across generations. (excerpt)