After the Crime: The Power of Restorative Justice Dialogues between Victims and Violent Offenders

After the Crime: The Power of Restorative Justice Dialogues between Victims and Violent Offenders

After the Crime: The Power of Restorative Justice Dialogues between Victims and Violent Offenders

After the Crime: The Power of Restorative Justice Dialogues between Victims and Violent Offenders

Synopsis

2012 Winner of the Outstanding Book Award presented by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
Outstanding Academic Title from 2011 by Choice Magazine
Too often, the criminal justice system silences victims, which leaves them frustrated, angry, and with many unanswered questions. Despite their rage and pain, many victims want the opportunity to confront their offenders and find resolution. After the Crime explores a victim-offender dialogue program that offers victims of severe violence an opportunity to meet face-to-face with their incarcerated offenders. Using rich in-depth interview data, the book follows the harrowing stories of crimes of stranger rape, domestic violence, marital rape, incest, child sexual abuse, murder, and drunk driving, ultimately moving beyond story-telling to provide an accessible scholarly analysis of restorative justice.

Susan Miller argues that the program has significantly helped the victims who chose to face their offenders in very concrete, transformative ways. Likewise, the offenders have also experienced positive changes in their lives in terms of creating greater accountability and greater victim empathy. After the Crime explores their transformative experiences with restorative justice, vividly illustrating how one program has worked in conjunction with the criminal justice system in order to strengthen victim empowerment.

Excerpt

We are a country fascinated by the minutiae of movie stars’ glamorous lives and scandals. We are glued to news and TV shows about crime, eager to digest the gory details. Newscasts and magazines understand this fascination, responding with daily stories of mischief, mayhem, and murder. We love to consume other people’s troubles and embarrassments, and this makes sense because hearing about other people’s problems makes us feel better about our own. Since we do not know these people, we live vicariously and judge them with no strings attached. We become armchair quarterbacks—deciding what people ought to do or ought not to have done. It is common for people to attach blame to strangers—this helps to reinforce the sense that we are not as vulnerable as they are because we are not like them; we would not make similar choices. Believing that we are different, or wiser, provides us with the illusion that we have some control over our own lives.

This attitude changes when something terrible happens to us or to a family member or cherished friend. Becoming a victim of a violent crime is terrifying. Your entire world changes in moments, and events throw you unwillingly into uncharted places that are unscripted, unimaginable, and painful. The immediate circumstances are understandable: when violence is sudden, unpredictable, and horrifying, you might react with shock, denial, anxiety, fear, guilt, anger, and terror. If you are religious or spiritual, you may find solace in your faith or beliefs and use them to help you through the pain, or you might doubt your faith in a God who allows bad things to happen to good people. Whatever your feelings, you find that in order to function, you must compartmentalize your utter despair and grief because there are practical matters to handle or because you need to answer questions from police, detectives, medical personnel, lawyers, and victim services workers or because you have other people looking to you for reassurance. Quite possibly, depending on the crime, you might have to arrange a memorial service or funeral or to find a temporary safe place to live or to deal with Child Protective Services. Even given this array of circumstances, all victims share a common experience: the life they once knew changed instantly, and not only . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.