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Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice (Christian Peace Shelf) [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   291
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 26, 2005
Publisher   Herald Press
ISBN  0836135121  
EAN  9780836135121  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
Overview
Crime victims have many needs, most of which our criminal justice system ignores. In fact, the justice system often increases the injury. Offenders are less ignored by this system, but their real needs for accountability, for closure, for healing: are also left unaddressed. Such failures are not accidental, but are inherent in the very difinitions and assumptions which govern our thinking about crime and justice

Publishers Description
Crime victims have many needs, most of which our criminal justice system ignores. In fact, the justice system often increases the injury. Offenders are less ignored by this system, but their real needs -- for accountability, for closure, for healing -- are also left unaddressed.

Such failures are not accidental, but are inherent in the very definitions and assumptions which govern our thinking about crime and justice. Howard Zehr, director of the Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Office of Criminal Justice, proposes a "restorative" model which is more consistent with experience, with the past, and with the biblical tradition. Based on the needs of victims and offenders, he takes into account recent studies and biblical principles.

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More About Howard Zehr

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Howard Zehr is widely known as "the grandfather of restorative justice." Since 1996 he has been Professor of Restorative Justice at the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA, an international graduate program for justice and peacebuilding practitioners.
Howard has published several other portrait/interview books including Doing Life: Reflections of Men and Women Serving Life Sentences and Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims (both with Good Books).
He has authored numerous other books and publications; best known are The Little Book of Restorative Justice (Good Books) and Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice.
He is a frequent speaker and consultant on justice issues in North America and internationally.
Zehr has also worked professionally as a photographer.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A Better Means of Justice?  Dec 18, 2005
This book was handed to my by the religious leader of my church after a discussion regarding my son's legal problems.

In this book Zehr takes issue with the current system, which many claim is based on the Old Testament of the Bible. He views the criminal justice system as one which has been built on retributive justice. This system is built on retribution, the "eye for an eye" viewpoint. Zehr raises several substantial questions:

Is the retribution system working as a deterrent to crime?
Is the retribution system truly in line with the ideas of the Bible -- both Old and New Testaments?
Does the retribution system really help the victim?
Does "punishment" really rehabilitate the offender?

Moving forward Zehr then talks about a restorative system of justice. This system of justice is more akin to our civil courts than our criminal courts. Rather than being a crime against the state, the action of the offender is regarded as a crime against a person. Both victim and offender see each other. If done well, both victim and offender come to know each other as people, not just faceless stereotypes. This step alone can make a huge difference. For the victim, it's a chance to express his or her sense of violation. For the offender, it's a chance to understand that he or she hurt a person, not just the owner of a house that he or she ripped off.

Zehr realizes that he is wrestling with a utopian ideal. Restorative justice is far easier for us to accord to those who have done crimes such as burglary (unless you have been a victim of one and understand how violating the event can be). But what about the more brutal crimes of rape, child molestation or murder? Zehr believes the system needs substantial revamping in these ways as well, but acknowledges it is a much more difficult solution.

Food for thought.
 
The best introduction to restorative justice  Jun 3, 2002
Zehr's classic work is the best introduction to the concepts of restorative justice. "Changing Lenses" details the abuses of our current retributive justice system and proposes a new (and old) biblical, practical and indispensible vision for a criminal system that restores justice.

Zehr combines his theological and intellectual insights with his experience as founder of the first victim-offender mediation program in the United States. No one interested in mediation or criminal justice should be without this book.

 
Changing Lenses, A review  Jun 3, 2000
Howard Zehr is a christian who is is compassionate towards people caught up in the criminal justice system. Zehr looks at the criminal justice system from different perspectives: from the offender's and the victim's perspectives. He points out that there is tragedy in the number of people caught up in the justice system.
 

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