Restorative Justice Takes Center Stage
Who does justice better?
Who should define the restitution for a crime – “the State v. _____” or the actual victim/survivor of a crime?
Audiences will be the judge as the new CNN Original Series, “The Redemption Project with Van Jones“ airs Sunday, April 28th at 9PM EST.
In this series, Van Jones follows the victim or surviving family members of a life-altering crime as they journey to meet face-to-face with their offender in hopes of finding answers or some sense of healing.
The series shines a bright light on perhaps the little known process of restorative justice – an alternative to punitive justice where the victim or survivor decides what they need in order to be repaired or restored, versus “the State” or legal system determining what the victim’s restoration should look like.
Gut-wrenching and Real
Grab your tissues and brace yourself for a wild ride. While some viewers may believe the only point of view that matters is the victims’, The Redemption Project balances a glimpse into the lives of both the victims and the offenders. You will feel the very real pain from the void left in the hearts of loved ones who have experienced tragic loss – what that family member was like, what he or she meant to them.
And, while the opinion of some may be that the offenders’ only position is one of apology for or explanation of their actions, the series also gives insight into the background and experiences of the offenders that may have influenced their dreadful judgment and choices.
Hard, Awkward Conversations
How would you articulate questions that have been swirling around in your head for 5, 10, maybe 20 years to the offender who is to blame? Could you?
The actual dialogue sessions will have you on the edge of your seat, afraid to blink and miss one facial expression, one tear, miss one word spoken.
It’s a remarkable, first-hand look into the rather personal stand-off between victim and offender, the innocent and the guilty.
While it may seem rather intrusive to be a fly on the wall as people face their greatest pain and the worst fears of their lives, the show demonstrates the possibility of redemption for all humanity – against all logic – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or faith.
Will every episode end in satisfying closure? For many victims and survivors, the concept of closure may not even exist; there are understandably some holes in many hearts that will never mend shut with confrontation or a conversation.
But, where there is an absence of closure, rest assured that the notion of courage runs deep through the veins of every victim and offender in “The Redemption Project” series.
Tune in and watch the transformation of the victims and surviving family members. What can we learn from them? It is within their audacity to be courageous that forgiveness and redemption are conceived and subsequently surrendered.