A Connecticut Advocate
in the Court of Restorative Justice:
Fresno Pacific RJ Conference
October 20, 2006
Mario Thomas Gaboury, J.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Criminal Justice
University of New Haven
300 Boston Post Road
West Haven, CT 06516
[email protected]
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Useful, Positive Themes
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Meeting of two worlds
Problems of the human condition
New innovations assist in overcoming
hardship and injustice
Social conscience prevails against the
odds and setbacks
Utility of common sense democracy
Potential dignity and purpose of life
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Victim Rights Movement:
A Contemporary Synopsis
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Injustices against victims come to forefront
CA 1965 – 1st Compensation Law
Fresno 1976 – Chief of Probation Jim Rowland
Innovation of Victim Impact Statements
1982-1984 President’s Task Force, Federal
Victim Witness Protection and V.O.C.A.
Today 32,000 Statutes and 32 Amendment to
State Constitutions
Current focus on Enforcement of Victim Rights’
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R.J. Part of Sea-Change in C.J.
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Roughly 100 countries use restorative justice
programs (Van Ness, 2005).
A variety of restorative justice programs are
utilized in the U.S., from the victim services
perspective much of this takes place in
correctional settings or alternatives sanction
settings (NIC, 2004, below).
These occur along a restorative continuum.
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Recent Focus on CorrectionsBased Victim Services & R.J.
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2004 NIC Survey found large numbers of
Restorative Justice Programs in
Corrections
Victim Awareness/Impact Programs 73%
 Community-reparation 62%
 Mediation/Dialog 53%
 Family/Group Conferencing 15%
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Example of Victim Rights Law:
2004 “Justice for All” Act
Rights To:
 Protection
 Notification
 Participation
 Be Heard
 Confer w/
Prosecutor
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Restitution
No Unreasonable Delay
Fairness/Dignity/Privacy
Other “Core Rights”
- Compassion and Respect
- Information/Referral
- Compensation
- Special Rights/Protections
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Restorative Justice
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…emphasizes the importance of elevating
the role of crime victims and community
members through more active involvement
in the justice process, holding offenders
directly accountable to the people and
communities they have violated, restoring
the emotional and materials losses of
victims, and providing a range of
opportunities of dialogue, negotiation, and
problem solving....(Umbreit)
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Why Have Victims/Advocates Not
Always Embraced Restorative Justice?
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Some early proposals and programs were
not sensitive to victims’ needs.
Primary offender orientation with victims
often feeling used as a vehicle to meet
offenders’ needs – lack of balance.
Issues with goals/orientations/terms –
reconciliation/mediation, closure, healing,
forgiveness, etc. (even “restoring” the
victim is considered a “red flag” by some).
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Victims’ Perspective on Select
Restorative Justice Principles
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Accountability
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Community protection
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Create awareness of harm caused to victim (and the
imperative need to personally repair that harm)
Offender makes amends/restitution/community service
Channel offender’s energy into productive activities
Consequences for non-compliance
Community-based supervision and sanctioning systems
Competency development
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Vocational and Educational Experiences (positive skills)
Positive orientation/understanding of victims/community
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Victims’ New Role in a ReBalanced R.J. Approach
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Victims (and the community along with the
offender) should be included in restorative
responses to crime
Accountability focused on the offender’s real
understanding of the harm caused, as
described by victim, to facilitate accepting
responsibility and really repairing the harm
Criminal justice and victim services agencies,
other services agencies, & local communities
should complement / support this response10
The Victim’s Role in Restorative
Justice: Some Questions?
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How can we maximize direct victim
involvement in R.J. programs?
How can we increase offender awareness of
actual injury to the victim?
How can we increase opportunities for
victim involvement in defining harm and
optimal methods of potential repair?
How can we encourage offender
acknowledgment of wrongness of behavior?
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Victims’ Role in R.J. Questions?
(cont.)
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How do we (can/should we) balance
punitiveness with restoration for offender?
How can we involve the offender most
directly in repairing the harm?
How can the community also acknowledge
victim harm, and confirm that the victim is
not responsible for what happened?
How can the community send messages of
disapproval while not banishing offenders?
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Victims’ Role in R.J. Questions?
(cont.)
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How can the community provide
opportunities for the offender to repair harm?
How can the community be involved in the
process of holding offenders accountable?
How can the community be supportive of
victims, and help meet their needs?
How will we know when restorative justice
programs “work” and how do we measure
success?
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R.J. Programs and Victims
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Does program’s mission incorporate language
that addresses:
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Victims as a “clients” or “consumer”?
Victims’ needs?
If the larger agency has a VSU or other
victim-related programming, is there a
guiding mission statement or statement of
principles that guide victim-related program
implementation?
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R.J. Programs & Victims, cont’d.
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Is the program dedicated to providing victims
with referral, assistance & implementation of
rights, as appropriate.
Do job descriptions or duty statements clarify
specific responsibilities to victims, victim
services, and restorative justice initiatives?
Are staff incorporation of victim issues related
to their position reviews?
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R.J. Programs & Victims, cont’d.
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What is the structure of the program’s advisory
board (is there victim representation)?
Victims’ restorative justice issues included in:
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Orientation training?
Refresher training?
How often are trainings held?
Content and presenters?
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R.J. Programs & Victims, cont’d.
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What are the scope of outreach/awareness
activities to inform and involve victims?
Do public awareness measures incorporate
victim issues in R.J. outreach?
Are services and products available in
multiple languages, TTY, Braille and measures
commensurate with victims’ age and
cognitive development?
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R.J. Programs & Victims, cont’d.
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Is victim outreach available in both large
and small jurisdictions, urban and rural?
Is the program involved in planning and
implementing victim-related
commemorative events (CVRW)?
Is the public surveyed to assess their
attitudes and input about victim services
and restorative justice?
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Measuring Effectiveness:
Victim Satisfaction
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Surveys?
Focus groups?
Direct interviews?
What are the cumulative results?
Are victim satisfaction data utilized to
revise and improve programs, if and as
needed?
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Measuring Effectiveness:
Victim Trauma
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Can any reduction in victims’ long- and
short-term trauma be directly attributed
to their participation in restorative
justice processes and programs?
Do RJ programs utilize the rich body of
research about victim trauma?
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Measuring Outcomes/Process:
Community Service
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Direct service provided upon request to
victim?
Collaboration with Victims/VSPs to provide
opportunities for community service that
benefit victims?
Community service placements of the
victim’s choice or recommendation?
Community service that benefits the
community?
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Measuring Effectiveness: Victim
Participation in R.J. Programming
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V/O Meetings or Dialogues.
Victim awareness (IOC) classes.
Victim impact panels.
Healing or sentencing circles.
Family group conferencing.
Community reparative boards.
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Victim satisfaction with all of above.
Offender completion of any agreements.
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Other Innovations?
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R.J. Language in Victim Rights Laws – E.g.,
Draft U.N. Convention on Justice & Support for
Victims of Crime, Abuse of Power and Terrorism.
Joint Evaluation Research – Evidence Based
Practice – American Society of Victimology.
Partnerships and one-stop/seamless services –
”through any door” can include R.J.
programming as well as traditional victim
services.
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Pain to Power
“Pain falls drop by drop upon the
heart until, in our own despair,
against our will, comes
wisdom.”
--Agamemnon, Aeschylus
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Restorative Justice/Community Justice