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Restorative justice, take 2

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libertygrl
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Posted 04/13/12 - 11:31 PM:
Subject: Restorative justice, take 2
Just watched a poignant film called "Take". In it, a man on death row is confronted by the mother of one of his victims, just before he is lethally injected. The purpose of the film is to call attention to the benefits of restorative justice, one of which comes from allowing the victims to meet face to face with the perpetrator of the crime. The more I hear about restorative justice, it just makes total sense to me. And yet I'm surprised to hear that some states are opposed to the idea of the victim and the offender meeting face to face. I don't understand why. Any guesses?

http://www.giveforgiveness.com/restorative-justice.php
libertygrl
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Posted 04/13/12 - 11:37 PM:

some of the benefits listed on the site:

- radically reduces the number of repeat offenses
- reduces the victim's post-traumatic stress
- reduces the victim's desire for revenge
thedoc
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Posted 04/13/12 - 11:57 PM:

This depends on the attitude of those involved, if there is no remorse in the perpetrator there will only be arrogance and little chance of closure for the victim. Likewise the victim must be willing to accept that the perpetrator sincerely regrets their actions.
libertygrl
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Posted 04/14/12 - 9:38 AM:

Indeed. I was just checking out the RJ website:

http://www.restorativejustice.org/

There are dozens of studies in their library supporting the efficacy of victim/offender mediation. I haven't read the details of the techniques employed, but I get the impression that there's a good amount of counseling and assessment going on beforehand to protect the victims as much as possible from potential abuse.

At the end of the film, it says, "This year over 700,000 inmates will be released from prison. More than 50% will be re-incarcerated within 3 years. Where RJ is allowed to work, the re-incarceration rate drops to as little as 8%."

The RJ website also has a number of news articles on their blog, which include success stories where the program has been implemented, or on the other rejected, such as in this case:

www.restorativejustice.org/...ate-on-restorative-justice

With so much overwhelming evidence supporting RJ, I wonder if there are other factors at play concerning its rejection. For example, the intent (and perhaps sadistic?) desire to punish the criminal to the greatest extent possible.

I have to say, I was not really opposed to the death penalty before I saw this film. I wasn't staunchly in favor of it either, mainly for the cause of the wrongly incarcerated, but I wasn't necessarily opposed to someone who committed a series of brutal, pre-meditated crimes being sentenced to death. I'm feeling now that regardless of the crime, that a state-imposed execution is just wrong, that we should be above that as a society. Especially considering that there are beneficial alternatives on the horizon.
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