Webinar: Does Restorative Justice Need Forgiveness?
January 30, 2013 | by Sujatha Baliga and Howard Zehr | Eastern Mennonite University
On January 5, The New York Times Magazine carried a story about the use of a restorative conference in a murder case in the early stages of the legal process, prior to a plea. The case was also highlighted on the Today Show a few days later. The story was entitled, “Can forgiveness play a role in criminal justice?”
Conferences like the one highlighted in that article are sometimes used prior to formal prosecution in “lesser” cases, and victim-offender dialogues are now common post-sentencing. However, a conference to negotiate a plea in a murder case is highly unusual.
How did this case unfold? What can restorative justice practitioners learn from this pioneering case? What is the relationship between forgiveness and restorative justice? How do we relate to the media on these issues?
Sujatha Baliga, director of NCCD's restorative justice project, facilitated this process in the case and was the guest for this webinar. Howard Zehr, who facilitated the connection between the two families and Sujatha and played a background role in the case, chaired the session. Viewers were able to submit comments and questions through a chat forum.
This webinar was intended for restorative justice practitioners but was open to anyone, though a basic knowledge of restorative justice is helpful. For those without that background, The Little Book of Restorative Justice provides a short introduction.
Note: The webinar requires WebEx software for viewing, which you can download by clicking the webinar link.