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Violence, Restorative Justice, and Forgiveness

Violence, Restorative Justice, and Forgiveness

Marilyn Armour | Mark S. Umbreit



A groundbreaking book founded on extensive original research, designed to determine how restorative dialogue works, and the role of forgiveness within it.

The research involved interviews with 20 victims who went through a Victim Offender Dialogue (used in crimes of severe violence), and documents how the shifts in energy during the course of their dialogue moves the toxicity associated with the crime to a different place. This study explores the role of bilateral forgiveness in restorative work and addresses key questions about the role of forgiveness in restorative justice, such as how it can be measured. It also outlines a model which explains how the energy flow of dyadic forgiveness in restorative justice dialogue is formed.

Rich in data and in findings, this book will deepen understanding of how restorative justice works, and will inform future research and practice in the field.

An important new theoretical model based on the best of qualitative research-a deep dive into 20 restorative justice dialogues to explain how these encounters created profound psychological transformation for victims of terrible violence.
David R. Karp, PhD, Professor of Sociology, Skidmore College
Armour and Umbreit make a giant leap in the restorative justice discussion. Fascinating reading, and this is a truly new way of speaking about and thinking about the Victim Offender Meditation/Dialogue. This is well worth the read!
Everett L. Worthington, Jr., Author of Forgiveness and Spirituality in Psychotherapy: A Relational Approach (with Steven J. Sandage; APA Books)

Marilyn Armour is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor and founding Director of the Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue, in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Mark Umbreit is a Professor and the founding Director of the Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Acknowledgements 5
Preface 11
1. Dyadic Forgiveness in Restorative Justice - A Review of the Field and a Proposed Model 15
Purpose 15
Introduction 15
Types of forgiveness 18
Restorative justice and moral rectification 22
The energy of forgiveness 23
Energy shifts 25
Methodology for archival review 26
Glossary of constructs 26
Energy flow dynamics in restorative justice dialogue 37
Conclusion 40
References 41
2. Victim Case Narratives and Analysis 45
Introduction 45
3. Mapping Dyadic Forgiveness - An Analysis of Positive Energy Shifts in Restorative Justice Dialogue 235
1. Crime and Its Impact 237
Emotional turbulence 239
Emotional disconnection 241
Blocked energy 242
2. Motivation and Preparation 244
2. Motivation and Preparation - Efforts to Resolve Negatively Charged Energy 244
Efforts at self-change 244
Energy shifts 247
VOD motivation 248
Preparation 254
Impact of preparation on openness and hesitancy 258
Openness continuum 260
3. Dyadic dialogue 263
Dyadic encounter 263
Dyadic engagement 265
Pain transformation 272
Dyadic forgiveness 274
Energy shifts 286
4. Resolution and Post‑Dialogue Outcomes 292
Resolution 292
Post-dialogue outcomes 297
5. Dyadic forgiveness 303
Introduction 303
Mutual aid: Giving and receiving 304
Shifts in energy 305
Movement in negatively to positively charged energy 306
Role of dissonance in energy movement 308
Accountability in dyadic forgiveness 309
Dyadic forgiveness and meaning-making 310
Dyadic forgiveness and levels of engagement 311
Dyadic forgiveness and the sense of injustice 312
The project’s limitations 313
Implications of the project 313
Conclusion 314
References 315
Appendix 317
1. Study methodology 319
Introduction 319
Methodology 320
ReferenceS 324
2. Paradox of forgiveness - Reflection sheet 325
3. Paradox of forgiveness - Interview guide 327
4. Paradox of forgiveness - Demographic and background survey 329
Subject Index 331
Author Index 335
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