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After the Crime

The Power of Restorative Justice Dialogues between Victims and Violent Offenders

Susan Miller, 0, 0

Publication Year: 2011

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

The people in this book are survivors in the truest sense of the word, and I feel proud to know them. Throughout our time together, their determination, courage, and resiliency have been admirable and inspirational. That these survivors wholeheartedly shared their feelings and experiences so that others might benefit from their situations humbles me. I hope that this book ...

Part I: Foundations

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1. Introduction

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pp. 3-8

We are a country fascinated by the minutiae of movie stars’ glamorous lives and scandals. We are glued to news and TV shows about crime, eager to digest the gory details. Newscasts and magazines understand this fascination, responding with daily stories of mischief, mayhem, and murder. We love to consume other people’s troubles and embarrassments, and ...

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2. Tossing Turkeys and Other Stories: What Do They Say about Crime and Punishment?

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pp. 9-21

A flying frozen turkey careened out of a speeding car, hitting a woman’s windshield, bending her steering wheel from the sheer force of the blow and then shattering every bone in her face, nearly killing her. A teenage kid out joyriding with his friends had thrown the turkey out a car window as a prank, an unprovoked, thoughtless act for which his victim paid ...

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3. Getting Personal: The Power of Storytelling

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pp. 22-36

One of the best parts of university teaching is when I get to witness students’ epiphanies—those “Aha!” moments when something clicks in their mind or touches their heart, leading them to see the world in a different way. Since I routinely teach classes about child abuse, sexual assault, interpersonal violence, and other kinds of victimization, it is very easy for the students ...

Part II: Victim and Offender Stories

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4. Donna and Jamel: Living in Different Prisons

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pp. 39-55

He assaulted and raped Donna, who was forty-nine years old. Jamel was caught quickly, and he confessed. He was initially charged with kidnapping, unlawful sexual intercourse, robbery, burglary, assault, and criminal mischief; he pled guilty and received a twenty-three-year sentence. Ten years after the rape, Jamel and Donna met through VVH while he was ...

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5. Allison and James: From Horror to Gratitude

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pp. 56-67

He raped one of the daughters, nineteen years old, and almost killed her (by choking) during the assault. James was caught within a month, and he confessed. He was sentenced for second-degree rape and second-degree burglary and received a forty-five-year sentence. Twenty-five years after the rape, James and his victim met ...

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6. Laurie and Paul: Emerging from a Cocoon

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pp. 68-82

He was arrested for raping her at knife-point and sentenced to serve fifteen years in prison. Laurie also suspected him of sexually abusing one of their daughters and possibly their son. Their youngest daughter—their fourth child—was conceived from the rape. I interviewed both Laurie and Paul and had access to their case files, the letters ...

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7. Melissa and Steven: Losing Innocence

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pp. 83-96

When her father was confronted, he confessed and was ultimately arrested. He was given a prison sentence of seventeen years, which he began serving in 1999. When Melissa was twenty-two years old, she sought out the VVH program, making her the youngest victim to participate in a dialogue. I had access to Melissa and Steven’s case files and the letters they ...

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8. Scott and Bruce: Thou Shalt Not . . .

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pp. 97-109

Her grandfather, Bruce, was charged with rape in the fourth degree (sexual penetration of a victim less than sixteen years old) and continuous sexual abuse of a child. He also molested Justine’s female cousin. He served two years in prison for these offenses, followed by house arrest. He was released under the probation department’s supervision and is registered in Delaware as a sexual offender. ...

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9. Leigh and Jenny: Lives Interrupted

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pp. 110-121

Her blood-alcohol concentration was 0.14. She pled guilty and was convicted of first-degree vehicular homicide (which carries up to five years of imprisonment). She received three years in prison and two years of house arrest, though she served less because of good-time credits earned. I interviewed Cameron’s mother, Leigh, Kim, and Debbie (the volunteer facilitator ...

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10. Julie and Kevin: In Memoriam

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pp. 122-133

Kevin, age forty-two at the time of the crash, eventually pled guilty and was sentenced to serve eleven and a half years in prison. Julie and Kevin’s dialogue occurred on September 9, 2004. I interviewed Julie, Kevin, and the VVH coordinator and had access to their case files, letters exchanged, and the videotape of their dialogue. I have also corresponded ...

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11. Kathleen and Wayne: A Mother’s Love

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pp. 134-145

Judy had left the bar with him but refused his sexual advances. Angry at her refusal, he murdered her with a fifty-three-pound boulder. Although he maintained his innocence at the time, he was convicted and received a life sentence. The dialogue between Wayne and Judy’s daughter, Kathleen, took place in late January 2007 when Wayne was fifty-three years old. The VVH process was ...

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12. Chris and Brett: Misguided Chivalry

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pp. 146-156

Chris committed the actual act of murder. The victim’s son, Brett, requested a dialogue with his father’s murderer but started and stopped the VVH process many times over several years. Chris and Brett finally met face to face in the prison where Chris was serving time. Although Brett was initially intrigued about participating in my research for this book, he eventually declined to be interviewed. This chapter is based on an interview ...

Part III: Analysis

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13. The Importance of Storytelling for Restorative Justice

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pp. 159-184

Like the pairings provided in this book, the stories are compelling. They are powerful and evoke fascination and curiosity. They also reassure us that the justice system is not inherently flawed but that justice can be cause for celebration when healing and growth occur for victims and offenders. To fully explore the potential of RJ programs for responding to crimes of severe violence, ...

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14. Conclusion

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pp. 185-202

On the larger political stage, restorative justice methods played a central role in South Africa’s postapartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in negotiations in postgenocide Rwanda, and in postsectarian Northern Ireland. 1 The popularity of such programs demonstrates a widespread interest in more fully incorporating the needs and voices of victims into justice-system ...

Appendix A: Restorative Justice: Theoretical and Empirical Studies

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pp. 203-213

Appendix B: Methodology

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pp. 214-225

Appendix C: Victims’ Voices Heard Program Structure

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pp. 226-234


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pp. 235-262


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pp. 263-266

About the Author

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E-ISBN-13: 9780814728741
E-ISBN-10: 081472874X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814795521
Print-ISBN-10: 0814795528

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Criminals -- Rehabilitation -- Case studies.
  • Restorative justice -- Case studies.
  • Victims of crimes -- Case studies.
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