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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Restorative justice

My sister recently told me that she has an interest in this topic, so this fascinating article in Newsweek, caught my attention in a way that it might not have otherwise.  It's about a guy whose family members were victims of a horrible crime, similar to the one portrayed in "In Cold Blood" - 2 strangers came into the house, killed the parents, raped the daughter (12 years old), stole a little money, and left them all for dead. The son and daughter survived, but of course were completely traumatized.

What's relevant to RJ is that the son and daughter witnessed the execution of one of the men, but experienced no closure or psychological relief from this. However, the son had the opportunity to talk to the other man in prison - he was originally given a death sentence but it was commuted to life in prison. The man apologized for his crime, and the son experienced quite a bit of psychological relief from this exchange. The article doesn't discuss this in terms of RJ, but it struck me as a very clear example of it.  In fact, it almost seems like a mini controlled experiment, because of him also witnessing the execution.  Very thought-provoking.



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