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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200381 Find in a Library
Title: Offenders' Family Members' Responses to Capital Crimes: The Need for Restorative Justice Initiatives
Journal: Homicide Studies  Volume:7  Issue:2  Dated:May 2003  Pages:154-181
Author(s): Sarah Eschholz; Elizabeth Beck; Pamela Blume Leonard; Mark D. Reed
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 28
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on qualitative interviews with 19 family members of homicide offenders tried in capital cases in the South, this study broadens the discussion of punishment for homicide to include using restorative justice to supplement the traditional judicial process in capital cases.
Abstract: The interviews with the family members of the homicide offenders sought to determine whether the family members often suffered because of the homicide and arrest; and, if so, whether this suffering was aggravated by the judicial process. The interviews also focused on illuminating the feelings of family members toward victims' family members and toward the community in which they live. Further, the interviews attempted to identify any need for restorative justice in these cases, as well as to provide examples of families who have attempted to practice restorative justice on their own. Unlike the retributive or deterrence models of criminal justice response to crime, the restorative justice model aims to "engage key stakeholders" in the criminal justice process through "conflict transformation." This process provides for the needs of victims and their families; addresses safety and quality-of-life issues in communities damaged by offenses; offers punishment/treatment for the offender while maintaining community safety; and provides mediation and reconciliation for those involved. Findings from the interviews with the family members of individuals convicted of a capital crime clearly revealed many restorative justice themes that call for the inclusions of offenders' family members in the restorative justice healing circle. These family members experienced intense suffering that was in many ways exacerbated by the criminal justice system and by their treatment within their communities, particularly by the media. Many of the family members desired to reach out and connect with victims' family members and their own communities to form new communities based on the shared experience of a homicide and a trial. Many family members needed to share their stories with others as a part of the healing process. Restorative justice seeks to enfold in the healing process all those who are harmed and suffer from a crime, including the family members of offenders. Restorative justice seeks to ensure that no person is devalued in the process of doing justice. 8 notes and 75 references
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Capital punishment; Families of inmates; Restorative Justice; Victim services
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