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The Justice of Recovery: How the State Can Heal the Violence of Crime.

Mills, Linda G
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) Hastings Law Journal. 57:457.

One of the assumptions of the criminal justice system is that victims benefit
in some way from the prosecution and punishment of the person who caused them
harm. n8 While such legal redress may indeed benefit some crime victims, it
provides none with a meaningful opportunity to heal. Contemporary approaches
circumscribe victim participation in the prosecution of the victimizer to acting
in the narrow role of a trial witness, and later, to delivering a victim impact
statement at sentencing. n9 In this Article, I argue that victim healing
involves more than punishing the offender, and that by rethinking the roles
victims perform in the criminal justice system, we may provide them with a more
comprehensive menu of options to facilitate their recovery from crime. The
societal goals of punishment and accountability and the individual desire for
healing are not mutually exclusive. Rather, I contend that incorporating
recovery approaches from both the science of victimology and theories of restoration in the justice process allows a more encompassing perspective that has the potential to both reduce the propensity of victims to become victimizers themselves and interrupt the transmission of victimization
across generations. (excerpt)


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