Sam professor participates in mediation, gets national attention in ‘Marie Claire’

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Dr. Linda White, an adjunct professor of psychology and philosophy at Sam Houston State University, was featured in a story in this month’s edition of Marie Claire Magazine titled, “Could You Face The Man Who Killed Your Mother?”

White said she will be featured soon in an edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and has already appeared on “Oprah”, but it has not aired yet.

White and her granddaughter, Ami were featured in Marie Claire because of a program offered by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice called, “Restorative Justice (RJ) Victim-Offender Mediation and Dialogue Program.” The RJ program allows crime victims or surviving family members to sit down with offenders in a controlled environment. White and her granddaughter are surviving family members because White’s 26-year-old daughter (Ami’s mother), Cathy was abducted, raped and murdered by two teenage boys in 1986.

White said the story had a couple of inaccuracies and exaggerations, but she didn’t want to get carried away with it. White also said the article is more focused on Ami but mentions her because she does have a large impact on the story.

In the story, White and Ami sat down with one of the offenders, now a grown-man, to talk to him. They spent six hours with him, but when the meeting began, White said to the man who killed her daughter, “I want you to know what the last 15 years have been like for us.”

White said her and Ami participated in the mediation in April 2001 and in September 2001. Court TV produced a documentary on their situation. White said that once the documentary was made, a number of people picked up on the mediation program and did stories.

Although White has been featured in Marie Claire, Court TV and soon to be featured in Rolling Stone, White said Scott Nowell from the Houston Press did a story on them that she enjoyed. White recommended to anyone interested in her story to search through the Houston Press archives for Scott Nowell’s article. “He did a really nice job,” White said.

Mvfr.org said White went back to college after the loss of her daughter to study grief and loss in order to be able to educate others and counsel those with similar losses. The website also mentions that research in the area of death and dying has led her into other academic areas, primarily violence and its prevention and finally into restorative justice. She is not only involved in programs such as the Restorative Justice Victim-Offender Mediation and Dialogue Program, but also teaches subjects like death and dying at Sam Houston State University among a variety of other psychology courses. White also taught at North Harris Community College this semester.

For more information about how Restorative Justice works, visit the Victim Offender Mediation Association website at www.voma.org, or search the online directory of RJ programs offered by the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota (http://ssw.che.umn.edu/rjp).