Sharon- Criminal Justice Professor/ Victims’ Advocate

“For some people while they are incarcerated, having that separation from society is important. It gives them a chance to look at things from a different perspective. It is good time to focus on the harm caused.

I think the focus should be on the healing of the primary victims. But how can we accomplish that? It doesn’t make sense to put people away and not try to help them reach down inside of themselves to find out what went wrong and make them accountable for their actions… Incarcerating the offender resolves part of the problem in the sense that people want somebody punished, but it only fixes things temporarily.

We know that most incarcerated people are coming back to their original neighborhood, so let’s help them reintegrate.

That’s where the Restorative Justice piece comes in- holding offenders accountable and getting them to address the harm they caused. Aside from violating the law, there was real damage to the victim and community and they have to be responsible for that and try to make it right. For transformation to happen, there needs to be a change in the relationship between the offender and society. We have to create the opportunity for change.

What’s the worst thing you ever did? Now imagine for the rest of your life, you had a label put on you, and everyone referred to you by that label. How would you feel if nobody saw you for you, they saw you as the thing that you did? It’s a terrible thing to label somebody as a one dimensional character.”

Sharon Ostrow- Criminal Justice Professor/ Victims’ Advocate

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