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Restorative Justice - What Does Restorative Justice Look Like In Practice?

victims community offenders offender

As communities move toward a more fully developed restorative justice system, juvenile and criminal justice practice would include the following characteristics, some of which are already in place.

  • • Victims and families of victims receive support and assistance.
  • • If they wish, victims have the chance to help determine how the offender will repair the harm done.
  • • Restitution is more important than other financial obligations of the offender.
  • • Victim-offender mediation and dialogue is available for victims who want to have a mediation meeting with the offender to discuss how the crime affected them and how the offender can repair the harm. Victim-offender mediations are conducted by trained mediators who are sensitive to the needs of victims and their families.
  • • Community volunteers work with offenders.
  • • The community provides work for offenders so they will be able to pay restitution to victims.
  • • Offenders participate in community service projects that are valued by the community.
  • • Educational programs for offenders include becoming aware of how victims feel and learning to empathize with victims. Education also helps offenders see their responsibilities as members of a community.
  • • Offenders face the personal harm caused by their crime through victim-offender mediation, hearing panels or groups of victims or community members talk about their experiences with crime and how crime has affected their lives.
  • • Orders to repair the harm caused by crime are more important than orders imposed just for punishment.
  • • The courts and corrections provide annual reports on how reparation is made.
  • • Community members advise the courts and corrections by being on advisory boards.
  • • Business and community groups work with offenders to bring them back into the community as the offenders make good on their obligations.
  • • Faith communities sponsor support groups for offenders trying to change their lives, or for crime victims during the initial crisis stage.
  • • Offenders end up with greater skills than when they entered the corrections system.
  • • Community members become involved in reparative probation boards, panels, or peacemaking circles, in which they become directly involved in holding the offender accountable for the harm caused, serving the needs of victims, and strengthening bonds within the community.
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