By Sara Rath- email@example.com
Kids, Community and Restorative Justice
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Restorative Justice is a system that involves victims, the community and offenders in mending the harm caused by criminal acts. It provides those who are most affected by these crimes the ability to consider options for contributing in an assortment of restorative practices that encourage healing.
As school resource officers we understand that within the existing criminal justice system, offenders may play a submissive role and not be held accountable to right the wrong they have committed. However, in the Restorative Justice structure, these juveniles become active participants in reparation efforts. Where parents were once pulling out a checkbook to right a wrong, our young offenders are held directly accountable to victims and the community and encounter the personal impact of the crime they committed. Through Restorative Justice, these juveniles are offered the opportunity to learn firsthand what is required to make amends. Frequently this involves apology letters, neighborhood cleanup programs, senior citizen assistance programs and supplementary restitution through community service.
With the help of Restorative Justice programs, which are becoming more popular across the eighty-eight counties in Ohio, victims see that they are not forgotten and are offered opportunities to regain the sense of empowerment they may have lost as a result of crime.
The term “Restorative Justice” is difficult for many to understand. It’s about involving victims, offenders and the community in repairing the harm. For some, it is easier to throw open the door to a juvenile facility and forget about “the problem”. For those who chose to offer and participate in the initiative, they are able to experience the healing form of justice while providing an enhanced version of law related education to the juveniles served in the community.
Restorative Justice is a new direction in service and demonstrates that programs can do more than institute a baseline of culpability and punishment. They can become the foundation for a completely new set of expectations and behaviors for juveniles and society.
For more information on how you can use Restorative Justice in your school or community, visit: