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Journey to Belonging

Zehr, Howard
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) In, Elmar G.M. Weitekamp and Han-Jurgen Kerner, Restorative Justice: Theoretical Foundations. Deon, UK: Willan Publishing. Pp. 21-31.

Howard Zehr in this essay, which he describes as exploratory and suggestive, reflects on the experiences of both crime victims and offenders. He uses the metaphor of a journey- a journey or continuum from alienation toward belonging. Recognizing the differences in experiences between victims and offenders, and acknowledging that many will take offense at treating them together, Zehr nevertheless believes that alienation and belonging are central issues for both those who offend and those who are offended against. Furthermore, he suggests that the journey to belonging often involves a journey to identity xe2x80x93 that the two are deeply intertwined. To explore all of this, Zehr uses the lenses of tragedy and trauma rather than crime. The purpose is to enable people to consider these journeys with more understanding and empathy, as often the invocation of xe2x80x9ccrimexe2x80x9d triggers stereotypes and assumptions that limit subsequent thought, feelings, and dialogue. In the course of this exploration, Zehr discusses issues related to meaning, judgment, honor, vindication, retribution, and restoration.


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