Restorative Justice Services
Restorative justice is a set of guiding principles and framework for viewing that emphasizes the harm that is caused in the aftermath of crime or wrongdoing. It seeks to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offense and to collectively identify and address harms, needs, and obligations, in order to heal and put things as right as possible. The goal of Restorative Justice is the creation of safe, healthy communities. Such communities are created when there are opportunities for victims to have their needs addressed and when offenders are integrated into the community as positive, contributing citizens.
Below is a list of the various ways that these principles and values are applied in our community:
VAYA is conceived to provide support for victims of juvenile crime, while supporting the offenders in becoming increasingly accountable for their actions. The VAYA program is a series of five classes in which youth offenders go through over the course of one month. The classes are designed to encourage the youth to take responsibility for their actions, explore how those actions have impacted their victims and the wider community, and develop a plan for making things right. Our classes develop responsibility through requiring the youth to tell the story of their actions in a way that does not minimize or excuse their choices. The youth are also asked to tell the same story from the victim’s perspective which requires empathy. The classes prepare the youth for a face-to-face dialogue with their victim.
Restorative Dialogues and Conferences
Restorative Dialogues and Conferences are facilitated face to face meetings between the victim(s) of a crime, the offender(s) who caused harm, and other impacted parties. Through these exchanges, victims have the opportunity to share the impact that the youth’s actions have had on them, to ask any questions that remain unanswered, and to discuss what they need in order to move forward in processing the experience. Youth are given the opportunity to be responsible to their victims, hear directly about the impact their actions had, and to address their victim’s needs. Dialogues and conferences enable relationships to be restored and youth to be accepted back as pro-social members of their community. When the direct victim is not willing or available to participate in a face-to-face dialogue, then a community member, who has previously been a crime victim, serves as a surrogate victim.
Theft Impact is a diversion program designed for youth who have been referred for a misdemeanor theft offense and who are willing to accept responsibility for their actions. Youth go through a one-time, three hour, educational class designed to support accountability, deeper their understanding of the impact of their actions on others, and establish a plan to make things as right as possible. By going through this class, youth avoid formal charges and possible court appearances, are held accountable for their actions, and receive early intervention so that they can learn from their mistakes and not re-offend. This programmatic option is rooted in the belief that youth should be given a chance to learn from their mistakes, make amends to victims and the community, and move on with their lives without a permanent record.
Restorative Mentoring Circles
Restorative Mentoring Circles are facilitated support and decision making processes in which a young person who has done harm is encouraged and supported by community members to be directly accountable to the harms caused. As a result of the circle process, the youth is supported to take responsibility by sharing the details of what happened, explore the impact of his/her actions, and identify ways in which to make things right with their victim and their community. The youth also have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of their choices and to explore possibilities for their future. By providing a consistent structure for open and respectful communication, restorative mentoring circles provide an opportunity for youth and community members to establish connection, discover meaning and deepen understanding in profound ways.
The youth involved in the juvenile justice system often come from challenging environments and lack models for positive expression and resolution of conflict. This often results in choices and actions that are harmful to themselves and the community. Our Detention Center program is aimed at building the capacity of incarcerated youth, so that on their return to community they are better prepared to handle the adversity that previously precipitated their criminal behavior. Resolve builds this capacity through weekly, one hour communication and conflict resolution classes. The curriculum is focused on teaching communication and conflict resolution skills,providing skill building in basic positive communication behaviors,easing the transition from the detention center to the home environment, and providing an opportunity for the youth to participate in mediation with family members.
Restorative Justice Trainings
As “community” is a key stakeholder in this work, our goal is to educate and empower community members to be engaged with the justice process. We offer training opportunities to strengthen our resources, develop skills, and build awareness around restorative justice values and principles. Our training modules include:
- Introduction to Restorative Justice Principles
- Restorative Justice Practitioner Skill Training: Conferencing and Dialogues
- Circle Training
- Working with youth restoratively
- School-Based Restorative Practices
- Restorative Justice Facilitator Training
Restorative justice provide a framework for building student accountability and responding to wrongdoing while strengthening student and community relationships. It is not a singular program or process, rather a philosophy and practice based on a core set of principles that emphasize healing and repair over punishment, inclusion over exclusion, and individual accountability with a high level of community support. Restorative justice is increasingly being applied to address youth behavior, rule violations, and to improve school climate and culture. Resolve is currently working in partnership with several schools in the Rogue Valley to implement a whole-school approach to applying restorative practices. We also provide training, consultation, and service delivery to schools.
Engaging Communities in Restorative Justice
Resolve is continually engaging our stakeholders to explore how restorative justice can inform our responses to harm and crime in our communities. We have been key coordinators and participants in the following:
Northwest Justice Forum, Steering Committee
Our Director of Restorative Justice Programs is on the steering committee and helps to coordinate the Northwest Justice Forum, an annual gathering of individuals committed to, or interested in learning about, the principles and values of Restorative Justice. Regional practitioners, leaders, and community members convene each year to increase understanding, share practical application, ensure cultural inclusion, and explore theoretical implications of living and working restoratively in the Northwest.
Restorative Justice Coalition Of Oregon (RJCO), Coordinating Committee
Our Director of Restorative Justice Programs is a Coordinating Committee Member of the RJCO. RJCO is committed to advancing. RJCO is a coalition of Oregon restorative justice practitioners and programs. We promote and support the implementation and practice of restorative justice principles and models in Oregon’s justice, law enforcement, educational and other community institutions.
"Exploring Justice in Jackson County: What can restorative justice offer?", 2008
Resolve hosted a three day restorative justice conference in Jackson County in 2008, featuring Howard Zehr, the “grandfather” of restorative justice. The goal of this conference was to create awareness, dialogue, and inspiration around the value and implications of applying restorative justice principles in Jackson County. Click here to see the powerpoint slide shows used at the conference.
Community Service Placement Network (CSPN), Established 2009
Reslolve established a network of agencies and organizations in Jackson County to provide restorative community service placement sites for youth offenders. This network is maintained and sustained by the Juvenile Department of Jackson County.
Restorative Justice programs managed through the Juvenile Department of Jackson County Community Justice:
Restorative Community Service:
Restorative Community Service provides an integrative and restorative solution to hold youth accountable – while providing them with meaningful and strengths-based opportunities to make amends for the wrong they have done. Identified and trained organizations and agencies are committed to strengthening their communities, enhancing youth accountability, and restoring justice by providing service placements for youth offenders.
Community Accountability Boards (CABs)
In partnership with the Juvenile Department of Jackson County, Resolve is supporting the development and execution of Community Accountability Boards (CABs). CABs are a community-based diversion option available for cases that are eligible for being resolved outside of the formal court process. It’s comprised of several trained community volunteers who facilitate meetings with the youth and their parents. Through this process, youth are encouraged to speak about their actions, to reflect on how their choices have impacted others (victims, the community, their family, and themselves), and to take a personal role in determining what they need to do to be accountable for their actions. As a result of the meeting, an individualized contract is developed that addresses accountability, competency development, and community safety. Through CAB’s, youth take responsibility for their offense directly with their community and provide an opportunity for youth to make amends in ways that help them make positive contribution to their community.