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“Restorative justice for crime victims: The promise and the challenge.”

Achilles, Mary
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) In Restorative community justice: Repairing harm and transforming communities, ed. Gordon Bazemore and Mara Schiff, 87-99. With an introduction by Gordon Bazemore and Mara Schiff. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing Co.

Achilles and Zehr acknowledge the traditional plight of victims in the criminal justice system. In recent years many initiatives have emerged to assist victims better in the aftermath of crime. Achilles and Zehr state that restorative justice holds great promise for better treatment of victims. In contrast to the inadequacy and even trauma attendant to victims in the current criminal justice system, restorative justice theory views harm to the victim as central to the understanding of and response to crime. Nevertheless, the authors ask whether restorative justice can deliver on this promise for victims. Indeed, many advocates of victims’ needs and rights are ambivalent about or even suspicious of restorative justice. Therefore, the authors examine what victims need from justice. They examine what restorative justice specifically offers victims. Then they deal with the question of whether restorative justice can deliver what it offers. Several factors that challenge the adequacy of restorative justice for victims are discussed. Following this section, the authors delineate a number of things that can be done to improve restorative justice theory and practice on behalf of victims of crime.


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