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Circle sentencing: A victim centered process

Phillips, Charles
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) Crime Victims Report 5 (March/April): 1-2, 6.

Phillips outlines the traditional criminal justice response to crime: the crime is against the state, not the victim; victim and offender are kept separate; to a large extent the victim’s needs and interests are ignored; if the accused is found guilty, prison is often the sanction. According to Phillips, restorative justice seeks an alternative in victim-centered justice. Circle sentencing is a restorative justice practice involving those affected by crime: victims; offenders; and community members. Phillips describes key elements of circle sentencing in Travis County (Austin), Texas: participants; eligibility and referring agencies; screening panel; screening process; and the circle-sentencing process itself.


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