A Burglary In Southampton
"When the police told me about RJ, I was interested straight away and they referred me to the RJ service.
I told the RJ team that I would like them to speak with Phil, the offender, before I met with them, to see if he was also willing to get involved in RJ. Once they confirmed that he was also interested, the team started the preparation process with both of us separately.
Phil was still in custody at the time, so the RJ meeting took place in prison. The team arranged a visit with me to the prison ahead of the conference so that I could see what the meeting venue was like.
During the meeting I could have asked all the questions I wanted, but on the day I didn’t feel the need to ask some of them.
I told Phil that I was moving house as a result of the offence being committed and I could see how this affected him. He apologised to me - I really felt his apology was genuine. I felt reassured that I wasn't targeted and that the offence wasn’t personal. I felt I understood what had happened and I heard what Phil planned to do when released from prison.
I was pleasantly surprised by how sorry Phil was and the emotion he displayed. I told him I sincerely hoped he could turn things around and wouldn't continue to offend. The meeting was very emotionally intense and powerful. Phil showed me a huge amount of respect which I appreciated and his heartfelt apologies were accepted by me after hearing his story and background.
I would never have expected to leave the meeting with feelings of sympathy replacing my old feelings of anger. I still feel sad that it had to happen though. It was helpful to hear that he wants to pay his debt to society then move forward into a new chapter in his life… he fully embraced Restorative Justice. All credit to the facilitators for their professional approach and friendliness.
When the RJ team visited me a few days later, I told them that the process had been very powerful and it was a huge experience for me. I felt that Phil knew he had done wrong and that the apology was genuine. I am so pleased that I took part in the process. The preparation for the meeting was vital and was completely appropriate. The facilitators were brilliant."
If you are interested in participating in Restorative Justice in Hampshire you can call our team on 0800 043 8785 or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.