Restorative Justice

The Process

Restorative Circles

These circles are facilitated community meetings attended by offenders,victims, friends & family of related parties, interested community members and a representative/facilitator. The facilitator keeps the process moving in the right direction and ensures that the circle is in fact "restorative." The participants in the circle speak one at a time and address the issues at hand regarding the crime, while including the concerns of the victimized community. The focus is to address the needs and obligations of both victims and offenders leading to a constructive outcome. This objective for tis outcome is to heal the community, the victim, the offender, the families involved, and ensure that no further harm will come from the offender.

Restorative Conferencing

Similar to the circle, conferencing brings the victim and offender face to face to discuss the crime and its impact. This discussion also involves support people for both the victims and offenders. A trained facilitator is also present, who guides the dialogue about the crime and its impact.

It is divided into three parts: pre conference preparation, the actual conference, and post conference follow-up. The pre conference allows the facilitator to ensure that both pastries have realistic expectations for the conference. In the actual conference, the victim and offender each get to share their side of the story and talk about the impact the crime has had on their lives. The goal is to establish a common understanding of the events between both parties. The people there to support both parties also get to share their experiences subsequent to the crime. For the offender, the key element of the conference is to convey disapproval for their behavior, while showing them respect and care that they are reintegrated back into society. The follow up is not entirely necessary, but exists to ensure that the process effectively included the values of the conferencing system:

-Mutual respect

-Voluntary participation from both Victim and offenders

-collaboration

-Empowering the participants with the ability to develop their own solutions to repair the harm

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