Bishop takes restorative action after hit and run conviction - news from ekklesia

Bishop takes restorative action after hit and run conviction - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
30 Mar 2004

Bishop takes restorative action after hit and run conviction

-30/3/04

An example of restorative justice in action has emerged following the conviction of Bishop Thomas O'Brien, for a fatal hit-and-run accident in the US.

As part of a his probation, the Bishop has established a help line so the public can call to ask him to visit someone who is seriously injured or dying.

The restorative approach is voluntary, and is based upon the biblical idea that justice is primarily about making things right, restoring damage that has been done and restitution, before it is about retribution and punishment.

Although restorative approaches are often more radical than the Bishop's initiative, the help line follows a similar idea.

Callers hear a recorded message in which O'Brien asks them to leave contact information and details about the person to be visited.

A staff member at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix will relay the information to O'Brien, said Mary Jo West, a diocese spokeswoman. Someone will return the calls to let people know if the retired bishop can help them.

"He will get to as many as is humanly possible," West said.

The help line was part of O'Brien's four-year probation sentence for the June 2003 hit-and-run accident that killed Jim Reed.

Although O'Brien is not required to comply with the requests from callers, he was ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service, including hospital visits to severely injured and dying people.

Bishop takes restorative action after hit and run conviction

-30/3/04

An example of restorative justice in action has emerged following the conviction of Bishop Thomas O'Brien, for a fatal hit-and-run accident in the US.

As part of a his probation, the Bishop has established a help line so the public can call to ask him to visit someone who is seriously injured or dying.

The restorative approach is voluntary, and is based upon the biblical idea that justice is primarily about making things right, restoring damage that has been done and restitution, before it is about retribution and punishment.

Although restorative approaches are often more radical than the Bishop's initiative, the help line follows a similar idea.

Callers hear a recorded message in which O'Brien asks them to leave contact information and details about the person to be visited.

A staff member at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix will relay the information to O'Brien, said Mary Jo West, a diocese spokeswoman. Someone will return the calls to let people know if the retired bishop can help them.

"He will get to as many as is humanly possible," West said.

The help line was part of O'Brien's four-year probation sentence for the June 2003 hit-and-run accident that killed Jim Reed.

Although O'Brien is not required to comply with the requests from callers, he was ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service, including hospital visits to severely injured and dying people.

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