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Week #4. Social Justice Restorative Justice

Material and Tradition Elements for this Block.
Handout: 4 Working Definitions for Restorative Justice. (Below)
Handout: When Ed and David Broke Into Mildreds House and Took Things, RJ City Case Study.
Handout: CASE TWO in Forgiveness and Crime: The Possibilities of Restorative Justice, Walter
Dickey, Exploring Forgiveness, eds. Robert D. Enright and Joanna North.
Scripture: Luke 15:11-32 The Prodigal Son.
Text: 3 prayer options

"Traditional criminal justice is about when violence or other crime is committed against
the state. Restorative justice is against a human being and relationship.
Traditional criminal justice, when you violate, they're looking for punishment.
Restorative justice is looking for obligation and repair."
Sunny Schwartz on The Oprah Winfrey Show

Forgiveness is not cheap. Forgiveness is not amnesia.
Forgiveness is not some vague, nebulous idea.
It has to do with uniting people through practical politics.
Without forgiveness there is no future.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and to realize the prisoner was you.
Corrie Ten Boom

To introduce and explore the basic concepts of restorative justice, and its relation to
Christian theology of forgiveness and justice.

Background for Facilitator.
Whenever we approach the subject of forgiveness, we must remember the potentially sensitive
and powerful life experiences and emotions the topic may provoke for any of us. In one way or
another, we all have been victims, and we all have been offenders. Be prepared for the
possibility of especially strong opinions to be expressed when it comes to how justice is rightly
served! Be sure to read through this entire curriculum, especially the two case studies (When
Ed and David and CASE TWO), before leading your group through the material. CASE
TWO includes a 4-sentence description of a violent rape crime, and will not be appropriate for
all groups.
For this session, please plan to spend 90-100 minutes together.
Materials You Will Need.
Copies of the 3 handouts noted above.

Presentation of The Material. 30 min.
BE SURE TO REVIEW THIS MATERIAL IN ADVANCE for suitability, especially Case Two.

You may consider assigning one or more handouts as advance homework.
1. 4 Working Definitions for Restorative Justice. (Below)
2. When Ed and David Broke Into Mildreds House and Took Things, RJ City Case Study.
3. CASE TWO in Forgiveness and Crime: The Possibilities of Restorative Justice, Walter
Dickey, Exploring Forgiveness, eds. Robert D. Enright and Joanna North.

Distribute handouts to group. Read aloud together 2 or more of the working definitions.

Having considered the basic concepts, shift to the Ed and David story. Though its visually-
appealing format helps, the document is still long, so select in advance which pages of the
story you would like the group to read/enact. Choose/assign roles, and walk through the
story aloud; though the document isnt structured exactly like a play, it can be fun for somebody
to read the boxes for Mildred, David, Ed, Betty, etc.

Gut Response. 8 min.
Give participants five to eight minutes to get initial responses to this material down on paper.
Encourage them include intellectual and emotional reactions, what their favorite bit/quote is,
and anything in between. Invite them to consider any previous experiences they might have
had with restorative justice.

Engagement of the Material: Group Reflection. 30 min.

After sharing general reflections, engage group reflection by referring to the NIJ guiding
principles of restorative justice (from definition handout):
1. Crime is an offense against human relationships.
2. Victims and the community are central to justice processes.
3. The first priority of justice processes is to assist victims.
4. The second priority is to restore the community, to the degree possible.
5. The offender has personal responsibility to victims and to the community for crimes
6. Stakeholders share responsibilities for restorative justice through partnerships for
7. The offender will develop improved competency and understanding as a result of the
restorative justice experience.
Discussion starters:
In the Ed/David/Mildred story, how did you see these principles in action?
Though it is an ideal scenario, what strategies struck you as most powerful? Most do-
able? Least realistic?
How is the framework changed if we add and God to the end of principle #1?
How do the principles of restorative justice resonate (or not) with Christian theology
and tradition? (sin, redemption, resurrection, body of Christ, etc etc!)

If your group chooses to engage Case Two, plan on another 30 minutes of
reading/processing time. Again, this example is a powerful and true instance of restorative
justice at work in a context where human brokenness may seem most challenging to heal, but it
does describe a violent rape, so proceed with sensitivity to all participants.

After reading silently or aloud, allow for group reflection: how was restorative justice at work?
What did you hear in this story? What do we have to learn from the experiences of this victim
and this offender?

The Tradition. 20 min.
Read aloud Luke 15:11-32. Read twice, alternate readers; or the leader might assign roles
(father, elder son, younger son).

Discussion questions:
Who is the victim? The offender?
If you knew nothing about Christianity except for this Scripture passage, what would you
assume about what Christians believe about sin? About forgiveness?
How do the possible lessons we might derive from this parable from Jesus a) clash and
b) coincide with modern American concepts of justice?

For deeper discussion, read aloud (or distribute as handout) the following quote from Episcopal
priest and former chief of police, Rev. David Couper, and note together how his observations
echo (or not) your groups discussion thus far:

[The Prodigal Son] is and is not about justice. No doubt the elder brother is offended
on a couple of fronts: He is offended as a member of the family, whose youngest son
ran off with his share of the family money and spent most of it on wine, women and
song. The elder brother is probably also offended because fair is fair and the younger
brother took his share and left and now, legally, he has no claim to anything. Do we
detect a certain mean-spiritedness here, a need for punishment and vengeance?
Neither the elder brother nor the father knows what we, as listeners, know. We know
from the storyteller that the younger brother suffered terribly, nearly starving in his
plight, and that he had to work on a pig farm. The son has chosen to return to his
father, not as his son, but to beg work as servant on the family farm.

The question here is: what role does the elder son play as victim? Is he a victim? Our
style of justice in this country is based on the concept of society as victim. In this case,
is not the elder brother society? And what standing does he have in the relationship
between his father and the younger brother? If this is all about [property], then the
elder son really has no standing, because the property belongs to the father to
distribute and redistribute, if necessary, as he sees itYet the elder don wishes to bring
himself into this question and to refuse forgiveness to his brother. And that is his
choice. But the full worth of this story and its effectiveness as a model for both
forgiveness and restorative justice remains, despite the actions and words of the elder

Synthesis. 5 min.

Go around the circle and have each participant name one thing they take from this session that
they will think about (heads), something they are feeling (heart), and one thing they want to do
with the new information they have (hands). As a model and concept, restorative justice
certainly synthesizes our heads, our hearts, and our hands!

Prayer. 5 min.
Depending on the particular goals of your group, or where the groups conversation has
wandered, consider one or more of the following three prayers to close your groups time of
worship. And/or, this might be a moment when giving the group a chance to share aloud in
prayer the ways they are grateful to God, and the petitions they have for God.

Prayer of Commitment
by Michel Bouttier

Appoint me anew to my village.
Let nothing in me withdraw from it.
Keep me from evasions,
as if everything would be easier somewhere else,
in town, a mission field.
Its here, Lord, isnt it?
Let my ministry be one not of compromise but of fullness,
holding back neither years nor weeks nor moments.
My village have You not loved it from all eternity?

Prayer of Micah -- Do Justice, Love mercy, Walk Humbly (Micah 6:8)
by Ann Weems

When the journey gets too hard,
when we feel depleted,
when our compassion
turns to complaining,
when our efforts toward
justice and mercy
seem to get us nowhere,

its time to remember
the humility part
that it is you who have made us
and not we ourselves;
that the saving of the world
or even one part of it
is not on our shoulders.
It is then we can come unto you,
and you will give us rest.
With rest well remember
what it is we are about. Amen.

I Need to Forgive and Be Forgiven
by Kenneth G. Phifer, A Book of Uncommon Prayer

O Lord, I come to my prayers with an open wound
that is difficult to heal.
It was inflicted by my friend.
I have been wounded before,
But somehow the thrusts of an enemy do not leave the marks
that the wounds of a friend leave.
The scars that remain longest
are the ones we receive
in the houses of our friends, our families, our lovers.
Scars inflicted by opponents heal over and fade.
The cutting words of someone about whom we care little
may slice into our egos and rankle for a time.
But the cutting words of someone who matters to us
slash to the bone and marrow of our very being.
O Lord, now in my praying,
I look back upon hurts received and hurts given.
And in your Presence, I realize it is the latter
that matter most.
Forgive me the wounds I have inflicted,
the hurts I have given to people whom Ive loved.
Is it possible they are still glad they knew me?
Do they remember shining moments of love and sharing
that overshadow those darker times
of misunderstanding and estrangement?
It would seem, O Lord, that we human beings,
in our touching of others,
are always hurting as well as helping
wounding as well as healing.
In the totality of any love there is pain.
Help me by your Spirit to learn to touch others
with gentler hands and with trembling fingers.
Keep me from being so clumsy as to inflict needless wounds.
And when I err,
when I misinterpret,
when I fail to heed the messages that come from those I love,
Forgive me.
When I gash someone,
whether carelessly or out of my own wounded spirit,
make me quick to see what I have done
and ready to say, Im sorry.
You have forgiven me so much, O God,
Forgive me this
the wounds received by others
in my house of love. Amen.

*** additional resources ***

Restorative Justice Online
Forgiveness: A Time to Love & A Time to Hate, PBS film series.
This link from the National Institute of Justice is archived and 10+ years old,
but it remains one of the best primers on the fundamental concepts of
restorative justice!
The School of Religion at Queen's University offers Master of Divinity and
Bachelor of Theology degree programs with a concentration in Restorative

Four (4) Working Definitions for RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

From Restorative Justice Online:

Restorative justice emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime. When victims,
offenders and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results can
be transformational.

From the National Institute of Justice:
For some time now there has been growing dissatisfaction with the justice system.
Citizens feel disconnected, victims are dissatisfied, and those working in the system
are frustrated. Policymakers are increasingly concerned about the burgeoning cost
of justice in the face of this discontent and the high rates of recidivism that exist..
Over the past decades, there has been growing interest in new approaches to justice,
which involve the community and focus on the victim.
The current system, in which crime is considered an act against the State, works on
a premise that largely ignores the victim and the community that is hurt most by
crime. Instead, it focuses on punishing offenders without forcing them to face the
impact of their crimes.
Restorative justice principles offer more inclusive processes and reorient the
goals of justice. Restorative justice has been finding a receptive audience, as it
creates common ground which accommodates the goals of many constituencies and
provides a collective focus. The guiding principles of restorative justice are:
1. Crime is an offense against human relationships.
2. Victims and the community are central to justice processes.
3. The first priority of justice processes is to assist victims.
4. The second priority is to restore the community, to the degree possible.
5. The offender has personal responsibility to victims and to the community for
crimes committed.
6. Stakeholders share responsibilities for restorative justice through
partnerships for action.
7. The offender will develop improved competency and understanding as a
result of the restorative justice experience.

From Wikipedia:
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE (also sometimes called "reparative justice) is an approach
to justice that focuses on the needs of the victims and the offenders, as well as the
involved community, instead of satisfying abstract legal principles or punishing the
offender. Victims take an active role in the process, while offenders are encouraged
to take responsibility for their actions, "to repair the harm they've doneby
apologizing, returning stolen money, or community service". Restorative justice
involves both victim and offender and focuses on their personal needs. In addition, it
provides help for the offender in order to avoid future offences. It is based on a
theory of justice that considers crime and wrongdoing to be an offence against an
individual or community, rather than the state. Restorative justice that fosters
dialogue between victim and offender shows the highest rates of victim satisfaction
and offender accountability.

From Walter Dickey, Univ. of Wisconsin Law School, former
Wisc. Head of Corrections:

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE defines justice as the restoration to wholeness of those
whose lives and relationships have been broken or deeply strained by criminal
offense. This understanding of justice focuses on the harm the offense has caused to
the victim, to the victim-offender relationship, and to the relationship of both the
victim and the offender to the community. It asks: How can the harm be remedied?
How can the victims material loss be restored? How can the emotional trauma be
healed? How can the relationship between the victim and offender, broken by the
offense, be repaired?

Restorative justice, a model still in formation, rests on the notions that (1)
community, interpersonal wholeness, and social and individual healing must be
fostered by any system that purports to administer justice and (2) apology,
forgiveness, and restitution are important components of any restoration or healing
that occurs.

RJ City
Case Study
When Ed and David Broke into Mildreds House
and Took Things
A Story about RJ Citys Response to Crime, Victims and Offenders
One afternoon two young men broke into a house, ransacked it and took small valuables they could easily sell.
This is the story of those two men, the woman who lived in the house, and how RJ City responded to all of them. RJ City
is creating a
system that will allow it to respond as restoratively as possible to all crimes, all victims and all offenders.
In the course of this story you will meet family members and friends of all three. You will see how the crime had effects that went
beyond the harm to the immediate victim.
And you will observe how RJ Citys
response is different from contemporary criminal justice.
Some of the unique features that you will notice in this Case Study include:
Restorative processes such
as circles are routinely
Victim support is
offered from the
moment a crime
takes place.
The Break-In
Mildred Returns Home
Victim Support for Mildred
The Arrest
David and the Justice System
Ed and the Justice System
Mildred and the Justice System
The Circle
Adversarial Court
How Things Worked Out for Mildred
How Things Worked Out for David
How Things Worked Out for Ed
3. RJ City
is a work in progress, which means that this Case Study is as well. For more
information about the features of RJ Citys
response to crime that are reflected in this
example, please refer to RJ City
: Phase 1 Final Report []. If
you have comments, criticisms or suggestions, please offer them. As we learn more, we may
modify this story.
4. This is the October 2009 version.
2. This story is fictional and not based on any particular crime or people. However, it reflects only
one set of facts and individuals. Other scenarios for use in simulations are available for
classroom and other use. These encourage creative application of restorative principles to
difficult issues. You can find those, and other RJ City
materials, at
1. This story has happy endings. This is not because that always happens in restorative
processes, although there are more happy endings than in contemporary criminal justice. This
story has happy endings because RJ City
does not give up on people. The story is never
considered complete until the ending is satisfying, if not happy.
When cases go to Adversarial Court,
victims have the right to have lawyers
present evidence and to make
arguments during proceedings.
Page 1 RJ City
y Case Stud

The Break-In

One afternoon,
two young men
knocked on the
door of a home.
Getting no
answer, they
broke in. They
moved quickly
through the
house, looking for
small items they
could carry easily.
Lets get out of here, one of them said,
stuffing the last of the loot in his pocket.
They never thought about who lived in
the house, or how those people would
feel when they got back home.
They found
what they
looking for
in the back
the room,
things they
could fence.
All right, said the
other, pulling a watch
out of a drawer. They
hurried out of the
and ran
Mildred owns the house and has lived
alone for two years since her husband
The day of the
burglary she
was visiting her
daughter, Betty.
When Betty
drove her home,
they saw the
door was broken
and called 911.

Officer Randy, who works for the
Investigating Magistrate, arrived soon.
He went through the house to make sure
no one was still inside.
While Officer Randy was in the house,
John, the Victim Support Coordinator for
Mildreds neighborhood, arrived.
He gave Mildred
and Betty a
booklet with
information about
how RJ City
responds to
crime. It included
these provisions:
What we ask of you:
x Treat others with
x Do not retaliate.
x Allow others to
Victims are central in
our response to
We will work with you
to make it less likely
that this will happen
again to you or to
We are very sorry
this happened.
Our commitment to
x To protect you .
x To keep you
x To include you, if
you wish.
x To allow you to not
participate, if you
x To help you find
x To help you get
x To treat you with
Page 2 RJ City: Case Study

When Officer
Randy was sure
no one was
inside, Mildred,
Betty, John and
he went through
the house
Mildred was horrified when she saw her
bedroom. Someone had emptied every
drawer and ransacked the place.
Just as she had feared, the
anniversary watch was missing,
along with jewelry and some

Who can
help me
clean up,
My door
is kicked
in; I wont
be safe.

Support for

John told
Mildred that
a volunteer
from his
office would
call her at
Bettys house
that night to
see how she
was doing.
John told her about a group of volunteers
from a nearby church that helps with
crime scene clean-up and repair.
Mildred asked him to contact the group,
and two hours later Jo and Bill arrived to
help straighten up and to repair the door.
insisted that
Mildred stay
with her for
a few nights.
She, her
and their
two children
live in RJ
City, too.
Helen told her that a community group
called Caring Neighbors could bring
meals for a week or so once she returned
home. Mildred liked that idea.
These volunteers
help people facing
tough times. They
are trained to be
good listeners, so
Mildred found it
easy to talk with
Sure enough, Helen called later that
evening. Mildred told her she was worried
about returning home.
Helen agreed to
visit Mildred each
evening to see how
she was doing.
Each night she and
Mildred went
through the house
to make sure it was
Im so upset I
dont feel like
eating, she said.
I dont know my
anymore so
many people
have moved
After a couple of weeks, Mildred felt safe
enough that it was enough for Helen to
just call.

Page 3 RJ City: Case Study
So this is Mildreds support team: her
daughter Betty, Victim Support Co-
ordinator John, and Helen the volunteer.

The Arrest

Two weeks later the police received a tip
about who had done the burglary, and
both young men were arrested.
This is Ed. He has a previous conviction
for burglary. He was 19 years old when
This is David. Hes never been in trouble
before. He was 18 and in his final year of
arrested and
not employed
or going to
Ed denied
having anything
to do with the
break-in, or
even being with
high school.
After an initial
denial, David
soon broke down
and confessed.
He was
ashamed, and
worried about
how his folks
would respond.

We are sorry that this
crime took place in RJ
City. We believe that
you were responsible.
x You may require us
to prove our charges
against you in court.
x You may accept
x If you were
responsible, you have
an obligation to help
make things right.
Crime is what a person
does; it does not define
who they are unless
they let it.
Our commitment to
x To include you.
x To help you make
amends and to return
to the community.
x To help you meet
with the victims (if
they wish) to decide
how to do this.
x To treat you with
What we ask from you:
x Treat others with
x Do not retaliate
x Allow others to
Officer Randy
gave both Ed
and David a
brochure with
about the
justice process
in RJ City. It
included these
He told the police where some of
the stolen property was, but
some of it had already been sold,
including the anniversary watch.

David, on the
other hand,
wanted to
know what
the brochure
meant when
it said help
make things

continued to
deny he had
wrong, so
his case
was sent to
Both were
allowed to
meet with
attorneys who
reviewed their
options with
Page 4 RJ City: Case Study

David and
the Justice

David wanted to
make things
right, so he met
with Brenda, an
Offender Support
officer. She told
him about
making amends
in RJ City: he
would apologize to Mildred, answer her
questions, pay restitution and/or do any
community service they agreed on.

David wanted to
know how he
could do that.
There are two

Ed and the
Ed told the police
that he had
nothing to do
with the burglary.
He was given the
opportunity to
talk with
Priscilla, a
lawyer, about the
options available
to him.

The alternative is to meet with Mildred,
answer questions she may have, and
together decide what needs to be done to
make amends.
Brenda made
sure that David
had the
opportunity to
talk with
Santiago, a
lawyer, about
these choices.
After learning more about restorative
circles, David decided that he would like
to participate in one, if he could bring his
parents and some
other supporters.
Brenda said that she
would find out
whether Mildred was
also interested in
participating in a

Brenda said.
Which one we
take depends
on what you
and Mildred
Soon Judge
Veronica, the
Magistrate will be
issuing a report
about the burglary.
This will include a
amount of
Brenda continued.
If you and Mildred agree
with the report, the
Magistrate will enter an
order requiring you to

pay restitution. You
can also send Mildred
a written apology, if
you wish.

Page 5 RJ City: Case Study
Cases go to Adversarial Court if the suspect
denies responsibility or denies legal guilt.
Suspects have the right to counsel in an
Adversarial Court proceeding.
Suspects are also told about cooperative
processes, such as restorative circles.
These are used only when the suspect
admits responsibility.
Victims also have the right to appear with
a lawyer concerning the charge, restitution
and protection, if necessary. So there
could be three attorneys in these trials.

Mildred and
the Justice
John kept Mildred informed about the
progress of the investigation, including
the arrests of David and Ed.
Once it was clear
that David
responsibility but
Ed didnt, John
explained the
alternatives before
Eds situation was different. Because Ed
denied he was involved, his case would
go to Adversarial Court for trial.
The prosecution would try to prove that
She could
ask the
Magistrate to
order David
to pay
John described how restorative circles
worked, and explained that David was
willing to participate in one. Mildred
decided that she wanted to as well, as
long as Betty and John could be there,
Ed was guilty. Mildred
could have a lawyer,
if she wished, to
protect her interests
in the charge, in
reparation, and in

Mildred was given the
chance to talk with
Miriam, a Victim
Advocate. These
lawyers or para-
legals advise victims

The Circle
about their options,
including hiring a
lawyer for the
Adversarial Court
trial. Mildred chose
not to do that.

Page 6 RJ City: Case Study

Mildred invited Betty and her husband to
She also asked John and Officer Randy to
Mildred and David agreed to hold the
circle at the Community Centre because it
had a room large enough to hold everyone
who would come, and because its central
location made it easy for people to get

So did his uncle, with
whom he got along well in
part because of their
mutual interest in fishing.

as well.
Davids parents
And he invited his
baseball coach, even
though he had recently
been kicked off the team
for disciplinary problems.

Because of the
nature of the
crime, two
facilitated the
Tamara is an
facilitator and
works for RJ
George is a
volunteer with
skills in
circles. Tamara
is thinking
about inviting
him to become
a contract
Barbara, one of the
people who
recently moved into
heard about the
circle and decided
to come to present
concerns about the
effects of crime on
members lives.

David began with an
apology. Mildred asked
why he had broken into
her house and what had
happened to the property.
Mildred explained to
David how the burglary
had affected her. She
was afraid. She had lost
important mementos of
her marriage
particularly the watch.
Betty and her husband spoke
about the increased demands
this placed on them at a time
they were especially busy with
their kids. Her husband was
David said they had sold
some of it, including the
watch. The rest he had
turned over to the

She felt like a stranger in
her neighborhood. She
worried about how much
time Betty had to give to
her since the burglary.
involved in Little League and both
children had other activities as well. This
had already meant a lot of
driving for Betty. Now they
wanted to support Mildred as
well, and that required taking
extra trips across town.

Page 7 RJ City: Case Study
Davids coach said he was surprised David
invited him to the circle. He had recently
kicked David off the baseball team after he
started a fight with a teammate. David was
Davids parents disclosed
that his Dad had lost his
job six months ago. The
financial anxiety had
strained everyones
relationships. His Dad
had recently gotten a job,
Davids Mom said
that David
seemed to be
angry all the
time, and that he
had started
spending time
with young men
like Ed whom
they were worried
would get him in
a good player, but had
recently become
disruptive and angry. He
wouldnt talk about what
was going on, and after
the fight the coach felt he
had to remove him from
the team.

but his shift was at night, which meant he
slept in the afternoon. He and David had
gotten into arguments about how much
noise David made when he came home
from school.

Davids uncle said that
he and David shared a
love for fishing. This
had often given them a
chance to talk, and
they seemed to get
along well. Lately he
hadnt been around as
Barbara told the
group how worried
the neighbors were.
Most have recently
moved into the area,
and many families are
either single-parent
She said that
her young son
had asked her
the other day if
the bad people
were going to
come to their
house and take
his toys.
much because his brother, Davids Dad,
was out of work and stressed out. They
always got into pointless arguments, so
the uncle just stayed away.
or dual-income. They feel particularly
vulnerable during the days when no one
is home. They had called a public
meeting to talk with RJ City officials
about how to improve safety.

Once again David
apologized, saying he
had no idea the
number of people
affected by the break-
in. He wished he could
undo things. Since he
couldnt, he hoped
there was some way
he could help repair
some of the damage
he had caused.
Mildred said it
had been very
helpful to hear
from David and
his parents and
supporters. She
thought David had
done a bad thing,
but was not a bad
person. She
The discussion
then moved to
what kinds of
things might help
make things right.
First, David
agreed to pay
restitution for half
the value of the
stolen property
that was not
accepted his apology and said she hoped
he would learn from this.
In addition, Davids
uncle agreed to get
together with David
every other
weekend to do
some fishing. That
would give them a
chance to talk about
things David might
not feel comfortable
raising with his
This led to a discussion
about how David could
make payments
without a job. The
coach offered to help
David get work at a
batting cage near
school, and said he
would stop by regularly
to make sure David
didnt lose his good
Third, Davids parents
were interested to learn
that the local community
college offers courses on
weekends on

with teenagers.
They decided that
they would attend.
RJ City: Case Study Page 8
The coach
said that
David could
rejoin the
baseball team
as long as he
was current in
completing his
part of the
David agreed to come to the neighborhood
meeting Barbara was organizing, if
Barbara introduced him by describing the
circle. Davids Mom said she would come,
Barbara assured
Mildred that she
would make sure
that people in the
community kept an
eye on her house.
She invited Mildred
to visit her and her
son at their home.
Mildred said she would
also attend so she
could meet her
neighbors and say how
satisfied she was that
David had taken
Mildred accepted the invitation gratefully
and said that she loved children and
perhaps could care for Barbaras son
from time to time.

So this is Davids support team: his uncle,
Offender Support officer Brenda, and his
baseball coach.

Because Ed denied having anything to
do with the burglary, his matter was sent
to the Adversarial Court for trial. He was
told, however, that at any point in the
When cases go to
Adversarial Court, the
victim has the right to
hire an attorney to offer
evidence and make
arguments on three
issues: first, the charges
Mildred decided that
she did not want to
do that, but she did
want to file a victim
impact statement
and submit a claim
for restitution. Helen
helped her prepare
the statement in the
form required by the
process he
could still
request that the
matter be
returned for
against the suspect; second, any decision
that could affect the victims likelihood of
receiving restitution; and third, any
decision that could affect the victims

Ed was represented by Priscilla. The trial
focused on the issues of whether a crime
had occurred and whether Ed had been
involved in the crime.
At the conclusion of the trial, Ed was found
guilty. Judge Bernard ordered a pre-
sentence investigation into Eds
background, the impact of the crime on
Mildred, and the impact on the community.
When it comes to
sentencing, the law
requires a judge to
consider two key
factors: first, the
harm done to the
victim (to determine
Mildred was called to
testify; Helen attended
court with her that day.
David was also called
as a witness. During
his testimony he spoke
At the sentencing hearing,
the prosecutor, defense
attorney (and victims
lawyer, had there been
one) were invited to
present evidence and
about his agreement.
make arguments.
the amount of restitution), and second,
the risk the offender poses to the
community or victim (to determine in-
capacitative or reintegrative measures).

Page 9 RJ City: Case Study
Thomas, the Offender Support officer
assigned to Ed, prepared the pre-sentence
report. It showed Eds prior burglary
conviction, that he had lived with a
girlfriend for the past nine months, that he
had no job, used
marijuana regularly
and also abused
excelled in, and when
he quit school it was to
take a job as a
carpenter. But he had
gotten into an argument
with his supervisor and
was fired.
Ed had dropped out of school when he
turned 16. Frank, his woodshop teacher,
told Thomas that it was unfortunate that
Ed had not developed his interest in
woodworking. That was something he had
Eds sentence
had three parts:
First, he was
ordered to pay
restitution for
half the value of
the stolen
property that
was not
Second, he was assigned to live for 12 Third, he was
ordered to follow
a reintegration
plan that included
substance abuse
treatment, anger
and participation
in a victim
This is Eds support team: Offender
Support officer Thomas; Delbert, director
of the closed workshop; and Frank, his
former teacher.
empathy program. If his behavior was
good, he could start graduated release
after eight months.

months in a
meant that he
would be

How Things
Worked Out
for Mildred
Mildreds fear was significantly reduced
after the restorative circle with David.

Barbara made
sure that her
neighbors who
attended the
public meeting
were introduced
to Mildred.
She also invited Mildred to her house
where Mildred met Barbaras young son,
Aklilu. Mildred began doing occasional
childcare for Aklilu.
Several years later,
as Mildreds health
began to deteriorate,
she moved to a
nursing home.
Barbara, Aklilu,
and several
other neighbors
visited her on a
regular basis.
Over time, Betty
noticed that Mildred
was less depressed
and dependent than
she had been even
before the burglary.

Page 10 RJ City: Case Study
How Things
Worked Out
for David
David successfully completed his
agreement. His relationship with his
parents improved significantly in part
because of the course they took and
because of the time he spent with his
He rejoined his baseball
team and played well.
He was the teams
leadoff batter during the
second half of the
He entered RJ City Community College and
began to coach Little League. Sometimes
his team played Bettys husbands team
(Davids team usually won).
About a year after the circle, David noticed
an anniversary clock in the front window
of an antique shop. It was in good working
order, and he bought it.
David told Mildred
that he continued
to be sorry about
her husbands
watch. He hoped
that she would
accept the
anniversary clock
David asked
Barbara to
arrange for him to
visit Mildred to
talk about how
their lives were.

as a gift, even though it could not replace
the watch.
Mildred appreciated the gift and
displayed the clock on her mantle.

How Things
Worked Out
for Ed
became a
He was an
recruiter for
the program.

Ed did reasonably well while he was in the
closed workshop. He was a very good
Ed had noticed
that wall-mounted
flat screen TVs
looked great when
they were on, but
So he designed
framed mirrors
that covered the
screen. He used a
special glass for
the mirror that
allowed the unattractive
when turned

screen to be visible when the TV was
turned on, but invisible behind a normal-
looking mirror when it was off.

In fact, he
surprised Delbert,
the director of the
workshop, by
designing a new
piece of furniture
that ended up
being a top seller.
Page 11 RJ City: Case Study

During one burglary, he was stunned to
see that the owners had covered their flat
screen TV with one of his mirrors.
This happened shortly after his girlfriend
had told him she was pregnant, and he
began to think about what was happening
in his life.
He got in touch
with Frank for

challenged him
to deal with his
abuse problem
and promised
that if he did,
Frank would be
there when he
was released
from treatment.

However, when he was released he fell in
with old friends and
began to abuse
substances again.
He got his money
by breaking into
houses (but now,
after Davids
testimony against
him, he only
worked alone).
Frank helped him
find a part-time
job with a
cabinetry maker.
The owner was
impressed with
Eds work and
after six months
made the position
full time.
For outpatient treatment, Ed joined a
twelve step programme. After awhile, he
began thinking about how he could make
amends to those he had harmed during
his burglaries.
So Ed
himself into a
House of
Refuge with
When he
treatment he
was sober.

He met with several victims in restorative
circles, and sent messages of apology to
several others who were willing to receive
Judge Veronica, the Investigating
Magistrate determined that there was
evidence to charge Ed with 6 more counts
He visited Community Restorative
Services, a public agency offering conflict
resolution services. They contacted the
people he had
robbed. Most
victims were
not interested
in meeting, but
did submit
claims for
of burglary, but agreed
that they would not
have been solved
without Eds coming
So she consolidated
the charges and
sentenced Ed to
This Case Study, When Ed and David
Broke into Mildreds House and Took
Things, was written by Dan Van Ness
and is based on the description of RJ
City contained in RJ City
Phase 1
Final Report.
This is the October 2009 version.
2007-9 Prison Fellowship
The conditions of
probation included
completing the
agreements he had
reached with his
victims, and
continuing his
twelve step
Ed settled down,
married his
girlfriend and
raised several
children. He
continued to
improve as a
woodworker and
volunteered at the
closed workshop
from time to time.

DICKEY: For;giveness and Crime
To the extent that forgiveness seeks repair of these relations, it is part
of the process of restorative justice. Restorative justice, however, seeks to
go beyond forgiveness. It includes an apology and acknowledgment of
responsibility by the offender. It is not merely one person's response, the
victim's; it is also relational and seeks reconciliation.
Restorative justice has much in common with forgiveness. It is not
forgetting; it is not condoning or pardoning; it is not indifference or a
diminishing of anger; it is not inconsistent with punishment; it does not
wipe out the wrong or deny it. Indeed, it relies on recognition ofthewrong
so that repair can occur. It also relies on the taking ofresponsibility for the
wrong in a personal and social way.
Perhaps restorative justice and its relation to forgiveness can best be
understood in the two real-life examples that follow. Both involve cases
in which the offender received a sentence to prison, the second a quite
substantial one.
The first case is one in which the offender burglarized a church. The
meeting between victim and offender occurred during a furlough from
prison, given for purposes of the meeting. The reports are those of the
mediator who brought the victims and offenders together.
Case One
A victim offender reconciliation meeting was held between Johnny Sin
gleton and Rev. Harry Davis on January 9,1993. The meeting was held in
Rev. Davis' home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and lasted approximately one
The reconciliation meeting began with a review of the purposes of the
Victim Offender Rehabilitation Project (VORP) and a summary of the
agenda for the meeting. Mr. Singleton then began with an explanation to
Rev. Davis of how and why he had committed the burglary. Mr. Singleton
explained his involvement with drugs prior to the incident. He stated that he
hadn't realized the building was a church at the time he burglarized it. He
also stated that the morning after the burglary he had felt great remorse for
the offense. He explained to Rev. Davis that his own father was the assistant
pastor of a church and that, after speaking with his father on the day after
the burglary, he had decided to turn himself in. Mr. Singleton also expressed
to Rev. Davis his apologies for the offense.
Rev. Davis responded to Mr. Singleton by saying that he could understand
why Mr. Singleton had not realized he was burglarizing a church, because the
building was formerly a firehouse and was just beginning to be converted to
a church building. Rev. Davis then described the consequences of the offense
to himself and the members of the congregation. Rev. Davis mentioned the
recent shooting that had occurred in a Milwaukee church, leaving one church
member dead, and stated that many church members were beginning to feel
very fearful while in church. Rev. Davis also stated that, although property
damage had occurred and items had been stolen, the damage amounted to
DICKEY: Forgiveness and Crime
only a hundred dollars and was covered by insurance, and the stolen items
had been returned.
Mr. Singleton responded to this, stating that he wanted to do what
he could to relieve the fears of the congregation and to demonstrate his
remorse. He said he would be willing to speak to the whole congregation
and apologize if that would help. He also stated that he would be willing
to work for the church, mowing lawns and cleaning up, if that would be
Rev. Davis said that he thought Mr. Singleton was sincere in his remorse
and that he would forglve him and that he would not hold the offense against
him. He stated that he didn't believe it would be necessary for Mr. Singleton
to work for the church, since he had now forgiven him for the offense. He
further stated, however, that he would like to see Mr. Singleton attend church
services for a period of time.
Mr. Singleton stated that he would be glad to attend church
Mr. Singleton then again stated that he would like to make amends to t he
church in a tangible way and that he would like to work around the
if such work was available.
Rev. Davis stated that a work group composed of church members con
vened on most Sarurdays to help with the remodeling program. He stated
that Mr. Singleton would be welcome to help out if he desired. The parties
agreed upon a hundred hours of community service work to be performed
by Mr. Singleton at the church during the first year of his parole supervi
sion. Ms. Spors-Murphy stated that she would be willing to monitor this
agreement as a condition of Mr. Singleton's parole supervision.
As the reconciliation meeting drew to a close, Mr. Singleton again ex
pressed his remorse to Rev. Davis, and Rev. Davis again stated that he believed
Mr. Singleton was sincere and that as far as he was concerned the matter was
settled. Rev. Davis stated that he had not known what length ofsentence Mr.
Singleton had received and that he hoped things would go well for him in the
future. He stated that sometimes good results from being placed in a hard
situation. Mr. Singleton acknowledged that he had found that to be true.
This was a very successful victim-offender meeting for several reasons.
First, a helpful exchange of information occurred relating to both the facts
of the offense and the consequences of the offense for the victim. Second,
a fairly high degree of reconciliation occurred in this case as a result of
Mr. Singleton'S sincere expressions of remorse and Rev. Davis' willingness
to extend forgiveness. Finally, the meeting resulted in a tangible contract for
a hundred hours of community service work, which will be of direct benefit
to the victim. The meeting was also successful because of the supportive
role of Mr. Singleton'S probation agent, who arranged for an evaluation of
Mr. Singleton at DePaul Hospital and for his placement at Bridge Halfway
House following the drug abuse treatment program.
Case Two
The victim in this case ("TC") is a twenty-seven-year-old white female .
At the time of the offense (March 18, 1991) she was married and had one
DICKEY: F01:!Jiveness and Crime
adopted daughter, then age seven. She and her family lived in their home
in the country in northwest Wisconsin. The offender ("WR") is a twenty
eight-year-old single, white male who had prior arrests for burglary.
In short, WR raped TC at gunpoint and threatened her with a knife in
her country home after gaining access to her home by a request to use the
telephone. Facts important to his report and not stated in the complaint
include TC's belief that she was going to die that day. While raping her, WR
inserted the gun into TC's mouth and told her to count the bullets because
he was going to use them on her. He also continually ran the length of the
hunting knife over her throat and body.
TC began their meeting by asking WR some general questions about his
life at the prison, what he did and how he spent his time. This was done
as a way to break the ice and avoid diving directly into the heavy issues
which lay ahead of us. TC then explained the consequences of the rape. Her
losses include first and foremost her family. Her husband blamed her for
opening the door for WR and for not struggling sufficiently. He considered
her to be "damaged goods" and had no interest in her sexually 1T0m that
point on. He very quickly turned into a workaholic to stay away 1T0m TC,
which eventually led to their eating at different times, and so on. This led to
their divorce, through which TC's husband won custody of their adopted
The loss of her daughter was bad enough, but even more painful was the
fact that the little girl had been in seven different foster homes and had just
begun to believe that TC and TC's husband would really be her mother and
father forever. Thus, the separation of the family not only devastated TC
but also shattered the world their adopted daughter had just begun to have
faith in. Their daughter eventually sought therapy because of her extreme
difficulty in dealing with the divorce and the rape itself (she blamed herself
and believed if she had been home it wouldn't have happened). As a side
note, for the rest of that school year, every day when TC's daughter left
home for school she would yell back to her mom that she'd be home after
school and not to open the door for any strangers.
During TC's recovery she was admitted to mental hospitals on three
occasions. The last was in an effort to counteract what the doctors believed
to be a suicide attempt by TC: she refused to eat any food for about six weeks.
TC explained this was a response to being forced to perform oral sex on WR
and afterward being unable to put food into her mouth. As a result of these
repeated mental concerns, TC was heavily drugged and now complains of
having lost a certain portion of her memory because ofthis drug use. She also
complains of suffering significant withdrawal pains because her medication
was suddenly cut off.
TC concluded this portion of her remarks by stating that, while it is WR
who is incarcerated formally, she suffers an even greater loss oflTeedom than
he does through all the humiliation and shame imposed upon her in this
process. She feels as though she has been victimized not only by WR but also
by the criminal justice system, the hospitals and doctors, and her family and
DICKEY: F01:!Jiveness and Crime
TC then began asking WR some questions. First, why did he choose to
rape her if he hadn't raped before and only came to burglarize the house?
WR responded that he truly didn't know. He hadn't planned it when he
approached the house but once inside had decided to do it. TC asked if he
had actually made a phone call. WR stated, no, he had JUSt debated whether
to rape her or not. TC expressed her immediate anger at WR for not killing
her because ofhow terrible her life has become since the rape. She stated that
no amount of restitution would be able to compensate her for what she has
gone through and for how she must now live her life as the "rape victim."
TC then explained how she has even lost the ability to enjoy nature. She
used to love long walks in the country and camping and being alone. Now
she fears being alone and can't enjoy nature or that type of solitude. This
has contributed to the feelings she has of herself being the one who is really
WR responded to this series of questions, indicating that he knew that
anything he said would sound "lame" but that he felt he could relate to her
losses on a certain level because some are similar to what he has gone through,
although in no way can he comprehend what she must have gone through.
He shared how he loves nature and now cannot enjoy that, but admitted it
is for a much different reason. Now he has worked hard at reordering his
priorities simply to aim at healing himself so this will never happen again (it
was clear during this time of the meeting that, although WR was attempting
to provide an appropriate response, he felt totally inadeq uate to do so).
The conversation then turned to a discussion of the judicial process, with
TC asking several questions about why WR had pleaded guilty to the last
set of charges, what he had admitted to, and similar questions. Many of
his answers were revealing and helpful to TC, who felt very shorted by the
system. WR's answers appeared to put some things in a different perspective,
making it easier for her to understand and live with the way she had been
treated by the system.
One aspect of this conversation was WR's revelation that he had decided
not to go to trial after a hearing at which TC read a poem about how the rape
had hurt her. It was only then that WR (partly) realized what he had done
and began to connect with women in his own family who had been raped.
He decided to take the plea, because his attorney told him what they would
need to try to do to TC on the stand during trial, and the attorney didn't
feel TC could stand up to that type of beating. WR said he didn't want to
do that to her and felt he could not have lived with himselfifhe had allowed
his attorney to try to do that type of thing to TC.
The conversation then turned to WR, who began to reveal much about
his past and why he had taken the life of crime he had. He stated he is glad
he was arrested so that he can get help and so he won't hurt anyone else, and
that he wishes there were a way to take it all back but knows there is no way
he can. He related that about four to six months before the offense he had
found his fiancee (of two years) in bed with his then best friend. This was a
very traumatizing experience for him and one he thought he had put behind
him by the date of the offense (at least he stated that it was not consciously
DICKEY: For,giveness and Crime
on his mind at the time ofthe offense). He told ofbeing beaten by his father,
who used the "strap" on him repeatedly for his own transgressions as well as
for the errors of his younger siblings, for whom WR was responsible.
His relationship with his father worsened as he grew older. His father was
a Green Beret and had wanted WR to join the Marines also. However, WR
lost the hearing in one of his ears at the age of nine and thus could not pass
the military physical. This resulted in his father calling him "wimp" and other
similar demeaning names. His father had also hated his fiancee, always telling
WR how bad she was for him and how she would really hurt him someday.
WR then moved on to cliscuss his future plans, and we spent a lot of
time talking about his expected release date, where he would live, notice to
TC, and his future work. TC was engaged in this, clearly appearing to be
interested in protecting herself and being assured that she would know of
any parole decisions and WR's location if released. WR explained that he
would like to work somewhere that would allow him to do something for
society and make small efforts at repaying people for all he has done.
(As one aspect ofVORPs, I am committed to approaching the issue of
forgiveness where appropriate. When preparing the participants for these
meetings, we rarely speak ofthe offender saying" I'm sorry" or of the victim's
forgiveness. However, in most cases it is an issue that just seems to come
up, with the parties eventually bringing it up themselves to some level of
resolution. Thus, we find it to be a natural component of these meetings.
More important, most often it is crucial to the healing and reconciliation
process. If nothing else is accomplished by these meetings than an offender
saying he is sorry for the offense and asking forgiveness from the victim, we
have started to create a real opportunity for true healing and justice. The
words themselves are important, as is the control and power that are shifted
back to the victim. Whether the victim actually forgives or not (of course, if
he or she genuinely can it is all the better] is not as important as having the
right simply to make the decision.)
After a break, we reconvened and WR began by reaffirming the issues
regarcling his ultimate release and attempting to assure TC that she need not
fear him in the future (TC countered that, while that sounded great, it is
a bit hard for her to believe all that, coming from a guy who had stuck a
gun in her mouth and told her to count the shells) . WR then turned to the
forgiveness issue, explaining that he has sought God's forgiveness and is nor
sure that he will ever get it. Also, he has worked at forgiving himself but still
has been unable to do so. But he hopes that at some time in the future she
may be able to bring herself to forgive him. WR went on to say that he is
truly sorry for what he clid, and that if there were any way to take it back or
remove her pain he would do it.
TC responded that, no, she clidn't feel she could forgive him at that time,
but that she is working on it and hopes she can some time in the future . TC
explained that she had been a fairly devoted Christian (which was why she
had opened the door) but, since the rape, has struggled with how there can
be a God that allows this to happen. As a result she has fallen away from
Christianity but has turned to her Native American roots (she is a quartt: r
DICKEY: Forgiveness and Crime
Native American) and to spirituality to heal herself. However, forgiveness is
a part of that too, and she will continue to work on it.
TC shared that after the rape she had written a poem entitled "Silent
Scream" (WR also shared that he has written a great deal of poetry). She
wanted to bring it with her to the meeting but in the end could not because
it was simply too painful to do so. It is based on the guilt and shame she
has felt for never screaming out during the rape. At the time, she felt she
did everything she could to defend herself but, afterward, was condemned
by her family and husband for not doing more. It is the guilt and blame she
associates with not screaming that have haunted her for so long. However,
she now thanks WR for not killing her, because she has grown to understand
how much she has to live for. She knows that she survived so she can counsel
other rape victims. Otherwise, she might as well be dead.
We ended the meeting and rose to leave. As WR was exiting he turned
to TC and thanked her for sharing all of this with him because, although he
had heard some of these things from his doctors at the prison, it was never
real to him before. But now, watching her tell her story, he can feel what he
has done to her and the pain she has suffered and, through that, her pain
and suffering has become real for him in a way that he believes he can use to
help heal himself.
TC expressed repeatedly how helpful the meeting was to her and how
grateful she is that it occurred. Two follow-up contacts with her reveal that
she believes she is now much more understancling of what happened to her
and why and much more able to carryon with her life.
Developments in Criminal Justice
The major developments in criminal justice during the past two decades are
leVeral. While restorative justice has come to greater prominence and use
in the past five years, most recent developments are of quite a different
The rehabilitative ideal and the indeterminate sentence have
been abandoned, and the objectives ofthe system are now limited to
and vengeance. While attempts to advance the rehabilitative
never substantial enough to test it, it did serve to introduce
objectives into the system and ameliorate the historical emphasis
punishment and vengeance . Recently, sentencing systems have been
to limit the discretion of sentencing authorities, especially judges
parole boards. We now rely heavily on depersonalized sentencing
and grids, which greatly limit the individualization of decisions.
on discretion, while imposed in the name of fairness and equality,
reflect distrust ofindividual decision making and appear more unjust,
larly to minority group members, than any sentencing systems we
had. One consequence of these changes is that they move
' bility for sentencing out of the hands of those closest to offenders,