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A Connecticut Advocate in the Court of Restorative Justice: Fresno Pacific RJ Conference October 20, 2006 PowerPoint Presentation
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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

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A Connecticut Advocatein the Court of Restorative Justice:Fresno Pacific RJ ConferenceOctober 20, 2006

Mario Thomas Gaboury, J.D., Ph.D.Professor and ChairDepartment of Criminal JusticeUniversity of New Haven

300 Boston Post Road

West Haven, CT

useful positive themes
Useful, Positive Themes
  • 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
victim rights movement a contemporary synopsis
Victim Rights Movement:A Contemporary Synopsis
  • 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’
r j part of sea change in c j
R.J. Part of Sea-Change in C.J.
  • 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.
recent focus on corrections based victim services r j
Recent Focus on Corrections-Based Victim Services & R.J.
  • 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%
example of victim rights law 2004 justice for all act
Rights To:




Be Heard

Confer w/ Prosecutor


No Unreasonable Delay


Other “Core Rights”

-Compassion and Respect



Special Rights/Protections

Example of Victim Rights Law: 2004 “Justice for All” Act
restorative justice
Restorative Justice
  • …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)
why have victims advocates not always embraced restorative justice
Why Have Victims/Advocates Not Always Embraced Restorative Justice?
  • 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).
victims perspective on select restorative justice principles
Victims’ Perspective on Select Restorative Justice Principles
  • Accountability
      • Create awareness of harm caused to victim (and the imperative need to personally repair that harm)
      • Offender makes amends/restitution/community service
  • Community protection
      • Channel offender’s energy into productive activities
      • Consequences for non-compliance
      • Community-based supervision and sanctioning systems
  • Competency development
      • Vocational and Educational Experiences (positive skills)
      • Positive orientation/understanding of victims/community
victims new role in a re balanced r j approach
Victims’ New Role in a Re-Balanced R.J. Approach
  • 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 response
the victim s role in restorative justice some questions
The Victim’s Role in Restorative Justice: Some Questions?
  • 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?
victims role in r j questions cont
Victims’ Role in R.J. Questions? (cont.)
  • 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?
victims role in r j questions cont13
Victims’ Role in R.J. Questions? (cont.)
  • 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?
r j programs and victims
R.J. Programs and Victims
  • Does program’s mission incorporate language that addresses:
    • 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?
r j programs victims cont d
R.J. Programs & Victims, cont’d.
  • 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?
r j programs victims cont d16
R.J. Programs & Victims, cont’d.
  • What is the structure of the program’s advisory board (is there victim representation)?
  • Victims’ restorative justice issues included in:
    • Orientation training?
    • Refresher training?
  • How often are trainings held?
  • Content and presenters?
r j programs victims cont d17
R.J. Programs & Victims, cont’d.
  • 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?
r j programs victims cont d18
R.J. Programs & Victims, cont’d.
  • 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?
measuring effectiveness victim satisfaction
Measuring Effectiveness:Victim Satisfaction
  • Surveys?
  • Focus groups?
  • Direct interviews?
  • What are the cumulative results?
  • Are victim satisfaction data utilized to revise and improve programs, if and as needed?
measuring effectiveness victim trauma
Measuring Effectiveness:Victim Trauma
  • 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?
measuring outcomes process community service
Measuring Outcomes/Process:Community Service
  • 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?
measuring effectiveness victim participation in r j programming
Measuring Effectiveness: Victim Participation in R.J. Programming
  • V/O Meetings or Dialogues.
  • Victim awareness (IOC) classes.
  • Victim impact panels.
  • Healing or sentencing circles.
  • Family group conferencing.
  • Community reparative boards.
    • Victim satisfaction with all of above.
    • Offender completion of any agreements.
other innovations
Other Innovations?
  • 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.
pain to power
Pain to Power

“Pain falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom.”

--Agamemnon, Aeschylus