Letter to the editor: Restorative justice
To the editor:
In 2012, I was involved in a serious car accident when I was hit by a man high on drugs. This incident left me, as one self-employed, with no income for three months and with physical therapy sessions extending my recovery. It also plunged me into the criminal justice system as a victim while the perpetrator was hospitalized, arrested and prosecuted.
As I reflect on this experience I am grateful for the help the district attorney’s staff gave me to prepare for trial testimony, but I was left totally in the dark as to the consequences for the perpetrator. Had a restorative justice procedure been in place, there might have been a more satisfactory resolution to this event, not only for me but also for the other driver involved. Restorative justice programs around the world show greater victim satisfaction and lower recidivism because they seek to restore the harm that was done, rather than simply punishing and separating the perpetrator from the crime. Both parties would tend to benefit from a more humane process.
I hope Lawrence will study these options in the future, as well as alternatives to incarceration, instead of only enlarging the space where criminals are confined.