The New Jersey Department of Corrections acknowledges the need for inmates to recognize the impact of their crime(s) on victims and the community. To educate inmates and provide greater understanding and awareness about the harm they have inflicted, as well as to prevent future destructive behavior, the New Jersey Department of Corrections offers a voluntary victim-impact program entitled, Focus on the Victim, which employs restorative justice principles as its main focus.
Focus on the Victim seeks to provide inmates with the opportunity to examine the impact of crime through the process of group discussion/interactions, videos, experiential learning activities, and presentations by guest speakers. One of the most significant aspects of the Focus on the Victim Program is the personalizing of the crime and its effect on the victims. To enforce this, the Focus on the Victim Program supplements the victim impact curriculum by utilizing the experiences and expertise of local crime victims, secondary victims and victim service professionals throughout the community as guest speakers for group presentations.
Throughout this 11-14-week voluntary program, inmates have the opportunity to explore the impact of crimes ranging from property crime, assault, hate-bias crime, domestic violence, sexual assault, drugs, child abuse, elder abuse, and homicide. Additional concepts of restorative justice, making amends, and recognizing the impact of crime on the family structure are covered. To date, more than 3000 inmates throughout 12 NJDOC correctional institutions have graduated from the Focus on the Victim Program.