Defense-Victim Outreach Pioneer Tammy Krause Earns CJP Alumni Award for Outstanding Service

Tammy Krause, MA ‘99, accepted the 2016 Alumni Award for Outstanding Service during a SPI luncheon in summer 2016. (Photo by Andrew Strack)

Tammy Krause, MA ‘99, was selected for CJP’s 2016 Alumni Award for Outstanding Service. Krause, of Harrisonburg, Virginia, has worked on federal capital cases throughout the United States for the past 19 years. Her involvement in the legal profession began as a graduate student at CJP, when she joined Professor Howard Zehr at the invitation of capital defense attorneys to work with victims of the Oklahoma City bombings.

Since then, she has pioneered defense-victim outreach, known as DVO, in which an independent intermediary seeks to build professional relationships between the defense attorneys and the victim’s family in an effort to ensure that victim concerns are addressed. Her work with the Department of Justice has included several high-profile cases, including the trial of Zacharias Moussaoui.

“Tammy is among those graduates who have taken restorative justice into areas well beyond anything I had imagined,” said Zehr, who has been both a mentor and colleague. “In creating and practicing this work, she drew heavily upon and integrated what she had learned about restorative justice and peacebuilding at CJP. In my estimation, she represents much of what we hope from our graduates. As a pioneer and leader in a new field of justice and peacebuilding, she is very deserving of this recognition.”

The annual award is given to CJP alumni who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to CJP’s mission of supporting conflict transformation, restorative justice, trauma healing, development, organizational leadership and peacebuilding efforts at all levels of society. The first award was conferred in 2015 to Ali Gohar, MA ’02, founder and executive director of Just Peace Initiatives in Pakistan.

The catalyst for Krause’s involvement – indeed for the creation of her profession – was a phone call to Zehr from attorney Dick Burr, then a lead attorney on the defense team of Timothy McVeigh. McVeigh was accused (and later convicted and executed) of planning the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, in which 168 people were killed and hundreds injured. Burr reached out to Zehr, an expert in restorative practices, to explore some way of interacting with victims. Krause’s first experience as liaison became her practicum.

Over the next several years, with the help of Zehr, the CJP community and Dick Burr, Krause developed a model and best practices. A Soros Justice Fellowship and an Ashoka Fellowship helped her promote the model within the judicial system and build a network of trained liaisons. From 2003 to 2007, she worked as a victim outreach coordinator for the federal public defenders.

Krause now holds a PhD in law from the University of Manchester and has continued her work with the federal government in victim outreach. She interacts with people who have lost loved ones and who are struggling to understand not only what happened but why it happened and the motivations of the person or people who made it happen. She also helps victims and survivors understand the process of law, which can seem arbitrary, unintelligible and unfair.

She’s deeply appreciative of the award, she said, and humbled by the honor from a place that remains a source of sustenance and strength. “CJP’s teaching of the reflective practitioner has given me a place to come to where people are asking those same questions: am I doing this right? There’s a bond created in that integrity, in that honesty of trying to figure that out. I’ll be forever grateful for that.