Victim Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, Inc.
RESTORATIVE & PARALLEL
is a holistic and integrated theory of justice that
focuses on repairing the harm caused by criminal behavior. The concept is to
“restore” the victim to her/his life before the crime.
While the victim can never totally recover or be “restored.” The
concept is to assist the victim in the healing process, to identify and involve
stakeholders, hold the offender/perpetrator accountable for the crime, and
bring the community together.
Some of the outcomes
identified by this process include family group
conferencing, circle sentencing, victim assistance, ex-offender assistance,
victim-offender mediation (VOM), restitution, and community involvement and
service. This process creates opportunities for
victims, offenders, and community members to meet to discuss the crime and the
consequences of the crime. It also expects perpetrators to accept
responsibility and take the necessary steps in this process to repair the harm
they have caused; it seeks to restore victims, and perpetrators to whole,
contributing members of society, if possible; and to provide opportunities for
the stakeholders to participate in the resolution.
systems have been referred to as “retributive justice” focusing on the laws and
punishing the offender. Restorative justice focuses on who has been harmed,
including the victim, her/his family, the family of the offender, and the
community at large; on how these harms can be addressed or repaired; who should
address or repair the harms; and restoring those harmed to some semblance of
peace and security. This process is a great responsibility for those
participating, with risks of re-traumatizing the victim when the focus is
redirected from justice for the victim, to healing for the offender.
Each situation is unique and should be recognized as such. Trauma is the common
denominator, with healing and restoration the common goals. When the process
works there is an opportunity for healing and justice.
“underscores the need to create a separate path
to justice for victims—apart from the criminal justice system, but relating to
it. Parallel Justice is distinctive in several ways. It can serve all victims
of crime and it marshals a wider range of resources to address victims’ safety,
and their immediate and long-term needs. In addition, beyond the restorative
justice roles for offenders and communities, in a system of parallel justice,
there is also a role for society at large, represented by the state, in
repairing the harm. Along with families, neighbors, and offenders, society as a
whole would be asked to play a role in acknowledging the harm and helping
victims of crime rebuild their lives. Although restorative justice offers many
benefits to victims, our society owes victims much more. Every crime has a
victim and every victim needs our help.”
“Restorative Justice can serve only a small number of victims.
Restorative Justice does not address many critical needs of victims. Restorative
Justice provides no active role for the government in rebuilding victims’
Justice envisions a very different response to
crime. It addresses many of the limitations of our traditional criminal justice
and restorative justice paradigms and draws upon the strengths of each.
Parallel Justice provides two separate paths to justice—one for victims and one
for offenders.” Susan Herman, Executive Director,
National Center for Victims of Crime
Contact the Victim Resource Center of the Finger
Lakes, Inc. at 315-331-1171 x300 for more information.