Source: (2004) Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. 39(3): 21-33.

Restorative justice asserts that the offender has a responsibility to repair the harm done, to be accountable rather that just do time. The restorative justice philosophy can be found in a variety of settings, with one of the most recent settings incorporated into a range of sentencing and offender treatment approaches. A promising approach is the victim-awareness education program which allows inmates an opportunity to know about the scope of victimization, as well as develop insight into its aftereffects in the life of the victim. In 1997, the Connecticut Department of Correction initiated a 40-hour victim-awareness education program, VOICES, and classes began in 1998. This study analyzed data from the fall 1998 to December 2001 to assess the effectiveness of the program. A 50-item questionnaire was developed and administered to participants in the VOICES program before beginning the program and after its completion. The intent was to measure knowledge of and sensitivity of the impact of crime on victims. The results of the study provided significant support to the hypothesis that the VOICES program would produce increases in specific aspects of offender knowledge of and sensitivity to crime victims. Those offenders exposed to the program had a significant increase in knowledge of the facts of victimization and increased knowledge of victim rights. They were also more sensitive to the plight of victims. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.org.