Restoring Community

I was struck by the sincerity of this post by an anonymous offender who opts for a restorative justice meeting with the person he victimized:


 

Photo by Mark Watmough at Flickr Creative Commons.Photo of Don Jail, Toronto by Mark Watmough at Flickr Creative Commons.

I wanted to tell people what restorative justice means to me, as someone who has been through the whole process.

In prison, I made so many steps to change and I thought that there was something not there, something that was missing. That’s when I heard about restorative justice. I thought about how my victim felt and so I got involved with it. I wasn’t expecting to get as much out of it as I got out of it.

When I got out of jail and met my victim, it was a really big shock. I would never put anybody through that again. I can say that because I have been through restorative justice and I know how it affects them. I can recommend it [restorative justice] to anybody who is thinking of changing.

I thought my victim would be a bit p****d off for a couple of days, or that what I did affected him for a week or maybe a month. But when I met him, it was still affecting him two years later. It affected him in his job and when he was going out. It’s such a shock when you think you know something, but you know nothing.

Restorative justice does help and we need to carry on with it. Anyone who is due to be released from jail should be given the option of restorative justice. Every crime has a victim no matter what it is, so shoplifters should meet the owner of the shop they stole from. It would make more of a difference rather than just locking people up. To solve a problem, you need to go back to the problem.

The meeting was a really big point in my life because it helped me to make the big changes I needed to make. The questions went well and at the end my victim shook my hand and said: “I hope everything goes well.” It wasn’t what I expected. I thought how can he want things to go well for me when I didn’t want that for him when I did what I did to him? It changed how I thought about the whole thing.

If everyone in jail was given the option of restorative justice, it would make a lot of them say: “I can’t do that again.” I did it 23 months ago and I haven’t committed any offences since then, I wouldn’t think of committing any offences because I’ve changed and that restorative justice meeting was part of that change.

 

Originally posted at URBoss under the title, "What restorative justice means to me."