Victim-offender conferences are a primary tool used in restorative justice programs. Tonight (Sept. 17, 2011) at 10 p.m. Eastern time, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) will reprise its Confronting series, featuring an example of a victim-offender conference.
Tonight’s episode features the face-to-face meeting between a mother whose son was killed on his prom night and the woman whose impaired driving under the influence caused his death.
According to the OWN website:
“Confronting… documents the powerful and sometimes painful mediation process, where victim and offender come together to find some measure of closure. Mediation programs currently exist in 48 states across the country, and with each encounter the results are dramatic and life changing for both the victim and the offender. Every episode will follow both victim and offender as they prepare to come together, face to face, for the most important conversation of their lives.”
At the risk of seeming picky, practitioners of restorative justice often differentiate between the term “mediation” and the process they call “victim-offender conferencing,” although the face-to-face conferences certainly involve elements of mediation. The terminology has evolved as restorative practices have been introduced and followed.
Here is a sneak preview of tonight’s program.
Unfortunately, access to this excellent program is limited to pay-TV subscribers whose cable packages include Oprah’s network. It’s another example of the digital divide.
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