Chapter 5: The participants of criminal reconciliation programmes: evidence from interviews
This chapter, which continues to draw on the interviews, critically discusses the interviewees’ motivations, feelings, comments, concerns and difficulties in criminal reconciliation programmes. It shows that, contrary to the claimed goal that criminal reconciliation can empower the parties to resolve their cases mainly by themselves, it is still the officials who play the leading and dominant role during the whole process. This has weakened the parties’ role with the result that they felt they were employed as a tool for meeting the officials’ goals. Yet some prosecutors and judges also talked about their difficulties with criminal reconciliation. For instance, criminal reconciliation took too much of their time and energy, which were in conflict with some other requirements set in the internal performance assessment system. The findings in this chapter show that the officially purported goals of criminal reconciliation, such as redressing the victim’s damage, educating the suspect/defendant, restoring the parties’ relationship, bringing ‘closure,’ were not achieved in many cases, which placed the ultimate official goal or merit of promoting this programme – promoting a harmonious society – in question.
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