The Restorative Justice Project was featured on a recent edition of Dateline Australia.
The project, which allows victims of violent crime and their offenders to meet face-to-face, has produced remarkable results in a case involving Craig, a man serving an 80-year sentence for a violent crime he committed against Jackie, a woman who suffered a permanent head injury from the attack.
Through a series of annual meetings and discussions, Jackie has come to forgive Craig. "When she forgave me," Craig says, "it allowed me to start working on myself. It goes pretty deep when I think how her forgiveness affects me."
Says Clinical Professor Peter DeWind who heads up the Restorative Justice Project, "[Craig] has reported that he's experienced a love and concern from Jackie that he never experienced earlier in his life. And that's helped him be the responsible, thoughtful and considerate person he is."
In the Restorative Justice Project, law students have an opportunity to work outside of the adversarial processes that characterize most of the criminal justice system. This project attempts to involve crime victims more fully in the system by providing the opportunity for communication, often face-to-face meetings, between the victims of crime and those who have offended against them or one of their family members.
"It teaches that humanity is important at any level. That the opportunity to sit down and communicate with the person who has wronged against you is often the best way for participants to move on from a terrible event," says DeWind.
To learn more about the Restorative Justice Project, click here.
To view the Dateline video, click here.
Submitted by UW Law News on June 16, 2011
This article appears in the categories: In the Media