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Can offenders and victims help each other?

Wright, Martin
June 4, 2015

Source: (1994) New Life (Prison Service Chaplaincy. (11): 31-39.

Much has been written about the widespread dissatisfaction with the adversarial system of criminal justice and its inability to address the needs of victims, communities and offenders has been extensively documented. Victim/offender mediation and the principles of reparative justice provide an alternative framework for responding to crime and victimization. Mediation is a process in which victims and offenders communicate with the help of an impartial third party, enabling victims to express their needs and feelings, and offenders to accept their responsibilities. In the context of victim/offender mediation, reparation is the contribution that can be made by offender to victim to help put right harm caused by the crime. If the victim does not wish to receive it personally, reparation must be made to the community. Reparation may include an apology, financial payment, practical work, return or repair of goods, an undertaking of future behavior or voluntary participation in education, treatment or training programs. Restorative justice aims to restore victims of crime as far as possible to their state before the crime, and denounces the offense by requiring the offender to take responsibility for it, and make reparation, if appropriate, to the victim or the community. It also assists offenders to regain acceptance as law-abiding members of the community.


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