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The Offender Meets the Victim: A New Approach to Drunk Driving
By David Admire and Shirley Anderson
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is grateful to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the fourth revision and printing of this publication. Victim Impact Panels began sweeping the country more than a decade ago. The panels brought together victims of drunk driving crashes and first-time impaired driving offenders. Today, panels are a routine sentencing option in many courts, and an educational track in many driving programs and schools. Additionally, the panel concept has been expanded in some jurisdictions to include victims and offenders of other crimes besides impaired driving.
At the risk of omitting many individuals who deserve mention, we acknowledge a few pioneers of Victim Impact Panels. We are grateful to Judge David Admire of King County, Washington. With the help of Shirley Anderson, whose son Mark was killed by an impaired driver, Admire initiated Victim Impact Panels in September 1983 on the west coast.
Admire and Anderson's 8-page flyer, The Offender Meets the Victim: A New Approach to Drunk Driving, has helped countless communities design a panel program. Shirley has been acknowledged at state and national levels, and was a recipient of the Jefferson Award for meritorious service by the American Institute for Public Service. She has been a guest on many television programs, and continues to be an inspiration to others interested in initiating panels.
In 1982, Paul Deigran, the director of a hospital-based DUI program in Rutland, Massachusetts, contacted MADD and asked if a bereaved victim could come to one of his classes and tell his or her story. The victim component of the program was so well received that it became a permanent part of the hospital's DUI program. Victims in Massachusetts also began telling their stories to prison audiences.
Ann Donaca and Carole Satterfield-McLeod of Washington County, Oregon; Wayne Smith, Connie Strangefield, Sandra Gillum, Sharon O'Shea in Clackamas County, Oregon; Kathy DePeri in Orange County, California; and Trish Drum in Ventura County, California contributed significantly to the success of early panels. Their work strongly influenced the writing of this publication.
This Victim Impact Panel How-To, fourth edition, is dedicated to Dorothy Mercer, Ph.D., and her colleague Rosanne Lorden, Ph.D., of Eastern Kentucky University. Through their excellent research, Drs. Mercer and Lorden showed that Victim Impact Panels are much more than an offender program: that they significantly aid victim recovery. Recovery and healing after catastrophic physical injury or the killing of a loved one are never complete. However, Drs. Mercer and Lorden's research assured MADD that speaking on panels could be beneficial to victims. In fact, by giving them a voice before offenders, the most significant audience of all, victims often discover something positive in their tragedy. They find that telling their stories makes a difference. We are also grateful to Drs. Mercer and Lorden for their literature review, which contributed to this document.
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