Is the death penalty “the best” Kansas has to offer families who have lost loved ones to homicide?
Does capital punishment address the needs of traumatized communities whose sense of safety has been violated?
A recent KCADP webinar, “Reexamining Justice: How Restorative Principles Can End the Death Penalty in Kansas”, addressed these questions and many more.
Panelist Celeste Dixon shared her experience with the criminal justice system after the murder of her mother Marguerite Dixon in Hockley Texas in 1986. She attended the trial. When the death verdict came down, her family was relieved and thought they got what they deserved.
Seeds of doubt were planted soon after though for Celeste when she saw the defendant’s mom sobbing in the hallway after hearing the verdict. Celeste’s family had lost their mother; this woman was going to lose her son. “..It started to seem like this big situation that we’re all caught up in….the only difference between her son’s death and my mom’s death wass going to be she would know when it was gonna happen….someone was still going to take that person’s life.”
Todd Lehman, the Executive Director of Offender Victim Ministries of Newton, spoke to restorative justice elements which often are missing in a singular criminal justice system approach:
- Answers to questions like why the murder was committed, if the offender is sorry for what they have done.
- There isn’t a good opportunity for the survivors to candidly speak to the harm they suffered and their needs.
- The voice of the community is missing; they too have been harmed. How will the community’s needs be met?
The video is available on our KCADP Facebook page, which is a public page, open to all whether FB users or not.