Restorative Justice

What  is  Restorative Justice?   By Wint A. Winter Sr.

For more information on Restorative Justice use this link: Restorative Justice World Wide

 Restorative Justice, “RJ”, goes under many names in the United States and elsewhere in the world.  RJ is a program which is used primarily to help Kids at Risk and to restore the victim and the victim’s assets.

The high points of RJ are as follows:

Johnny paints graffiti on Mrs. Jones’ house.

Johnny is contacted by local police, sheriff or juvenile personnel who refer him to the local RJ organization.  A decision is made to hold an RJ Circle relative to this incident.

In the RJ Circle are Johnny, his parents and up to 4 friends, Mrs. Jones and up to 4 family members or friends and up to 4 representatives of the community and a trained Facilitator.

Johnny has already been made to know that he offended Mrs. Jones and he has confessed to the offense and the damage of her property.

The Facilitator reviews the facts and the members of the RJ Circle discuss the offense of Johnny, as well as the effect thereof upon Mrs. Jones and the Community.

In most RJ proceedings, Johnny would apologize to Mrs. Jones and make it known that he wishes to rectify and correct his offensive actions.

If all fails, Johnny is referred to the Judicial System.

If all goes well a written Agreement is executed by all members of the Circle, in which:

  • Johnny admits he committed the offense.
  • He agrees to restore Mrs. Jones and her property to its condition prior to his offense, so much as possible.
  • Mrs. Jones agrees that if Johnny completes the work, which is defined and described in the written Agreement, she and her property will have been restored.
  • All the parties in the Circle execute the Agreement.
  • Johnny undertakes to restore Mrs. Jones’ property within the time limit and in the manner described and set forth in the Agreement.
  • If Johnny fails to meet his obligations within the time limit set forth in the Agreement, Johnny is referred to the local Juvenile Court.

There is only one thing about RJ which makes it worthwhile and that is, IT WORKS. The recidivism rate of the Johnny’s of the world, in some areas, drops to as low as 10% compared to the recidivism rate under the Judicial System of something over 50%, on the average.