What Accountability MEANS

How Offender Accountability is DEFINED

Offender Accountability is a willingness or accepted obligation to acknowledge and admit to causing devastating trauma and loss, and to account for those choices to cause such harm. This means taking responsibility for and explaining the choices – without excuse or evasion.

What Accountability is NOT:

Accountability is NOT Arrest, Trial, Conviction, Sentence, Prison, or Probation/Parole. These are merely a few of the consequences of offenders’ choices to commit crimes and cause harm.

What Accountability REQUIRES:

First of all, Accountability does not require remorse. There are some offenders who do not have the capacity to ‘feel’ about their crimes the way most people might be expected to feel. Accountability simply requires offender acknowledgement, ownership, and explanation, and a willingness to address whatever survivors may need for a sense of restitution or reparation – knowing such harm and loss can never be truly repaired or restored.

Holding Offenders Accountable after adjudication should address the true needs of victims, survivors, and society. The job of police, prosecutors, judges, juries, and corrections professionals is to detain, adjudicate, incarcerate, and (hopefully) help to rehabilitate offenders. If and when they’re released, community supervision professionals may have the greatest opportunity to apply Victim-Centered understanding to their interactions with offenders – who themselves must continue to be accountable for their thinking, choices, and behaviors.