What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice is a victim-centered response to crime that provides opportunities for those most directly affected – victims, offenders, families, and community members – to be directly involved in responding to and repairing harm.
Restorative processes provide voluntary opportunities for people to meet in a safe environment and work toward a satisfactory resolution of their concerns, without the additional time and expense involved in litigation. Trained facilitators assist participants in reaching their own agreement in a manner that best meets their needs.
Research has found restorative justice programs to have high levels of victim, offender, and community satisfaction with the process and the outcomes, greater likelihood of successful restitution completion, reduced fear among victims, and reduced frequency and severity of further criminal behavior.
DRC’s Community Restorative Justice Program
DRC’s Community Restorative Justice Program (CJRP) was created to provide victim-offender mediation services within Ramsey County. The program uses restorative justice methodologies to address crime through victim-offender meetings and re-integrative community service, as well as communication and conflict resolution skills training for local organizations and school programs.
Today, DRC offers a range of restorative justice methods (including circles, victim-offender mediation, small-group facilitation, and family-group conferencing), matching the methods utilized to the needs of each particular case. Restorative justice methods allow for community responses to crime that seek not to ostracize offenders, but to reintegrate them through connections and service in their neighborhoods.
Advantages of DRC’s Community Restorative Justice Program
Circle processes are scheduled at a time and place convenient to all.
Circles allow participants more control over the outcome of their dispute. Participants have the opportunity to address the issues that are most important and create the best possible outcome.
Information shared during mediation is private and protected. If you reach an agreement, you will have a written and signed copy for future records.
Problem solving in this method tends to lead to more satisfying solutions than those imposed by court.