A Street Robbery
Daniel contacted the Restorative Justice team after he committed a street robbery on Carl. “The police told me that Carl has autism. My little brother has autism. I know that if that had happened to him, he’d be really affected by it. I want to apologise. I want to make things right.”
Facilitators contacted Carl to ask if he might want hear from Daniel, or ask him any questions. Carl was clear from the outset that he did not want to meet with Daniel, but he did want Daniel to know the impact that the robbery had on him: “I was frightened and scared for my life. This has left me feeling extremely anxious. I haven’t slept properly in over a year.” He also wanted to know the cause of the robbery. “Was there something about me that looked vulnerable – something that made him choose me?”
Due to his own mental health issues, it took Daniel a while to understand why Carl might not want to meet him, but he was able to write a letter to help answer some of Carl’s concerns. Amongst other things, it said: “I was on drugs. No food, no electric, no gas. Just drugs. I was in a bit of a hole. I didn’t care about anything… I regret it. I’ve done what I’ve done and I’m sorry. I’d like you not to think about it all the time, I’d like you to feel more positive, I’d like you not to be upset. This could have been anyone – it wasn’t you personally and I’m sorry this has affected you so much. I’m sorry.”
Carl received this letter, and asked for time to think about what it said. By the next morning, he had asked the restorative justice facilitators to pass on a reply of his own. Carl wrote: “It was nice to receive an apology from you… it will help me move on from this… I slept better knowing that you are sorry for what you’ve done. I feel a lot better now.”
Neither Carl nor Daniel met during the Restorative Justice process, but both speak positively about the impact that Restorative Justice had, and how it enabled them to move past what happened.