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Restorative Justice: Victim/Offender Mediation

            Restorative Justice: Victim/Offender Mediation.
             Restorative Justice is considered a new way of thinking about crime and criminal justice, emphasizing the ways in which crime hurts relationships who live in a community. Crime is seen as something done against a victim and the community - not simply as lawbreaking and violation against the State. Restorative justice is a systematic response to wrongdoing that emphasizes healing the wounds of victims, as well as offenders and communities involved with the criminal behavior. Restorative justice involves the community in a variety of preventative and responsive programs to bridge gaps between people, build their sense of safety and strengthen community bonds. .
             One of the many programs that are typically identified with restorative justice is Victim/Offender mediation. Victim offender mediation is a process which provides interested victims of primarily property crimes the opportunity to meet the offender, in a safe and structured setting, with the goal of holding the offender directly accountable for their behavior while providing important assistance and compensation to the victim. With the assistance of a trained mediator, the victim is able to let the offender know how the crime affected him or her, to receive answers to questions they may have, and to be directly involved in developing a restitution plan for the offender to be accountable for the losses they incurred. The goals of victim offender mediation include: permitting victims to meet their offenders on a voluntary basis, encouraging the offender to learn about the crime's impact and to take responsibility for the resulting harm, and providing victim and offender the opportunity to develop a plan that addresses the harm. .
             The first Victim/Offender Mediation began as an experiment in Kitchener, Ontario in the early 1970's when a youth probation officer convinced a judge that two youths convicted of vandalism should meet the victims of their crimes.

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