Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) September 1, 2010
In 2008 approximately 16,262 people were murdered in the U.S., leaving family and friends to grieve the loss. (Source: NCVRW Resource Guide) Many faith-based organizations want to help but do not know how. Due to budget cuts, funding for rehabilitation and educational, faith-based counseling programs for prisoners and crime victims has suffered in almost every locality. A new way to handle these problems is discussed in Redeeming the Wounded by Rev. Dr. B. Bruce Cook (http://www.xulonpress.com and http://www.cvaconline.org under “crime victim resources”). Cook’s new vision of victim justice involves a concept of fair and equal treatment for crime victims and prisoners based on principles of restorative justice and restitution.
Cook is an ordained Methodist minister, a career correctional professional and a crime victims’ advocate, who worked “both sides of the street” in prison and in the community with crime victims. He was a county jail chaplain, federal prison chaplain and a chaplain for crime victims. He worked in four Department of Justice agencies for a total of 24 years: Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, Office of Audit and Investigation, U.S. Parole Commission and Bureau of Prisons. He directed the Georgia Department of Correction’s Impact Therapeutic Program in two halfway Houses.
Cook’s call to action includes:
- A national cadre of 2,500 trained chaplains who could minister and respond to crime victims in their individual communities as well as to any national emergency involving mass terrorism.
- More emphasis on restitution and community service for all criminal offenses, which is the heart and cornerstone of restorative justice.
- Improvements to protocols for collecting restitution.
- The use of support groups in faith-based organizations for victims of stalking, domestic violence, homicide and DUI fatalities, rape and violent offenses.
- Crime victims’ rights in each state, including some form or remedy if the rights are violated by the state.
- Expanded use of diversion strategies for non-violent offender programs that include sentencing circles, victim-offender mediation and dialogue as an alternative to incarceration, allowing the use of scarce prison space for more violent predators.
“It is a tremendous inequity to minister to prisoners and their families and not to crime victims and their families,” Cook said. Readers can learn direct, effective ways to help crime victims and prisoners. While there are books on prison ministry, very few books focus on ministry to crime victims. Also included are nine riveting true stories from crime survivors.