Victim Compensation Funds
One of first and most groundbreaking legislative bills Brooks helped pass in Oklahoma was the Crime Victim Compensation Fund in 1984. Since then, states across country have drafted and devised different ways to collect funds to cover expenses of crime victims. To find out more about your state’s victim compensation options, go to the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Board’s (NACVCB) state directory at: http://nacvcb.org/index.asp?sid=5
Restorative Justice Practices
Brooks tried everything to heal from his family’s trauma, but it wasn’t until he met face-to-face with Glen Ake, the man who led the attack on his family, that he finally felt emotionally free and restored. As Brooks has said,
I wish this kind of freedom for everyone. I also don’t feel that it’s my place to lay forgiveness at anyone else’s feet. It’s my job to tell my story. And as part of that, I understand that real forgiveness is hard and usually takes a long time. I also believe that if all we can muster is to be willing for God to make us willing, God honors that and will eventually bring us to that place. For me it took 15 years and even then I didn’t see it coming.
“Restorative Justice” programs are designed to help facilitate meetings between crime victims and offenders. Sometimes victims meet directly with their offender if both parties are ready and the offender has evidenced true remorse. Other programs facilitate meetings with offenders unrelated to the victim’s crime to help the offender develop a deeper empathy for victims. Restorative justice programs have been found to decrease crime recidivism (reoccurrences) and be therapeutic for crime victims.
If you would like to find out more about restorative justice options try:
The Centre for Justice & Reconciliation at www.restorativejustice.org
The Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue at www.irjrd.org
The Insight Prison Project at www.insightprisonproject.org/
The Forgiveness Project at www.theforgivenessproject.com
Prison Ministry Opportunities
Brooks’ father Richard spent significant time ministering to Oklahoma prison inmates before his tragic death in 1979. Ironically, a prison Richard frequented was the same prison in which Glen Ake, the man who pulled the trigger that killed him, would later be incarcerated. It was also that same prison that Glen was touched by prison ministry, which changed his life and heart— allowing him to feel truly remorseful about his crime against the Douglass family and ask Brooks for forgiveness.
There are powerful and effective prison ministry programs having a positive impact on both inmates and those who volunteer to help them. Some ministries are designed specifically for crime victims to connect with offenders and have shown to have profoundly positive impacts on reducing crime recidivism (reoccurrence) and helping crime victims heal.
For more information, talk to your local church about prison ministry options and look into two model national programs that we highly recommend:
Prison Fellowship at www.prisonfellowship.org
Bridges to Life at www.bridgestolife.org