this story caught my eye this week -- it is an interesting example of creative -- and possibly restorative--justice. the new york times sets up the story as follows: "What punishment should be imposed on a man who shot a police officer almost 40 years ago and fled to Canada, but went on to live an upstanding life as a husband and father who worked in a library?"
the answer, in this case, is an unusual plea bargain in which the offender, joseph pannell, will serve 30 days in jail, spend 2 years on probation, and give $250,000 to a foundation that helps the families of injured chicago police officers. the broker of the deal was actually the victim, who suffered permanent damage to his arm, but said: “Something good had to come out of this...The easy way out would have been to have a trial, and cost this county hundreds of thousands of dollars, have him go to jail, and cost the prison system hundreds of thousands of dollars."
for his part, pannell, now 58, took responsibility for the shooting which took place when he was 19, saying: “We must seek to move away from adversarial confrontation and towards peaceful reconciliation and conflict resolution...Today is about acceptance of responsibility, atonement and redemption.”
no one went to prison, yet all parties seem satisfied with this resolution. too bad such creative justice negotiations are the exception rather than the rule.