Palm Beach Prosecutors Use Restorative Justice for Hate Crimes |TODAY|
Submitted by dan. on 2007-09-05 10:44.
Mack has consulted with Emory University religion professor Thee Smith about how a reconciliation approach would fit into hate crime sentences. Smith, who helped found Southern Truth and Reconciliation, which explores human rights abuses and advocates for restorative justice, is a firm believer in community or group conferencing.
Restorative justice scholars caution that a conference must be carefully structured so that the defendant is not so shamed as to become defensive and incapable of offering an apology.
Palm Beach County's thriving cultural scene has provided an unlikely setting for these sentences.
While a punishment that involves going to the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts or the Norton Museum of Art may not sound like much of a hardship, it's only one component of a sentence designed to reform.
"What we're trying to do is educate the hearts and minds of individuals," Mack said. "How do you really know what your success rate is? It's difficult."
One way to quantify the success might be the fact that not one defendant who Mack has prosecuted has come back into the criminal system for another hate crime.
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