Downes comments on Erin Ann O'Hara and Maria Mayo Robbins' article that accurately describes the nuanced and complex nature of apology and forgiveness. These are not actions that can be programmed--they happen at their own pace and in paths that are winding and unchartable. One of the reasons that victim-offender mediation is unpopular with some is that it can be emotionally messy and slow. Thus, one of the most helpful insights in his work has been that forgiveness is developmental, meaning that it often happens in normal and predictable stages. Forgiveness can be divided into manageable pieces. Indeed, their article makes a strong point about the danger to victims of either a pressured, guilt-inspired forgiveness, or excessive and unwarranted forgiveness that places the victim and society at risk of repeat harm.
Kenneth R. Downes,
A Reflection and Response to Using Criminal Punishment to Serve Both Victim and Social Needs,
72 Law and Contemporary Problems
Available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/lcp/vol72/iss2/19