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Copyright (c) 2006 University of California, Hastings College of Law
Hastings Law Journal

ARTICLE: The Justice of Recovery: How the State Can Heal the Violence of Crime

February, 2006

57 Hastings L.J. 457


Linda G. Mills*


Punishment alone does very little to heal the gaping wound a crime can leave on victims and their families. 2 Instead, healing is an arduous, dynamic and lengthy process that requires victims themselves to take active steps to facilitate their own recovery. Many victims and their families suffer as passive witnesses to public justice while they seethe with anger, or even guilt; the sad part is that the justice system does very little to address the feelings - or healing - associated with crime. 3

One need only think of the now famous Central Park Jogger, Trisha Meili, to realize how vast and deep the crevasse runs between court justice and true healing. Meili describes the role the arrest and prosecution of her suspected attackers played in her recovery; 4 a key fact is that the convictions of all five of the youths originally charged with rape, against whom she testified, were ultimately overturned in 2002. 5 She contends, in her tell-all book, that it was not the prosecution that gave her comfort, but rather her own psychological and spiritual journey toward understanding what happened the night she was brutally raped. 6 Through this journey, Meili comes to accept that her negative body image and accompanying anorexia pushed her to go running alone in Central Park the night of April 19, 1989; becoming aware of this fact not only gave her greater control over her life, but also illuminated the path toward her recovery from this otherwise ...
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